#Unclutter 2017 – The 3 S’s of paperwork

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In my last post of this #Unclutter2017 series, I tackle an area of our lives that we all have to deal with: paperwork.

Tackle your family filing

When I finally addressed the issue of our family’s paperwork, I was well into my minimalism journey. However, I can’t begin to tell you how shocked I was to find old utility bills from several years earlier – and from a house in which we no longer lived. I also had items relating to my daughter’s childcare when she was a pre-schooler. She is now almost 15…
I had ‘archives’ in the loft (or so I thought), plus ‘current’ items in my admin cupboard.

Evaluate and sort

I brought everything together and had a long, hard look. First of all, some of the items I had archived were actually current (house documentation) so should have been stored more carefully. Other items, like a water utility bill from 2008, should have been shredded a looonnnggg time ago.
So, I was ruthless. I immediately placed in the recycling anything that didn’t need to be shredded.

Follow the 3 S’s of paperwork

For the rest,  I followed the 3 S’s of paperwork:
Scan
Shred
Store

Scan

Scan information you need to keep whose paperwork you don’t need to retain. Evernote or Dropbox are great places to keep your scanned paperwork.

Shred

Shred papers containing confidential information. The shredding may feel like a nuisance; I don’t own an industrial sized shredder so this job took me a long time. If you are planning to buy one, get the best shredder you can afford.

Store

Store what you need in a logical way. The storage system is your choice, but having tried filing cabinets (graveyards for paperwork you’ll seldom look at again) and hanging files, I opted for simple office-type box files. Easy to order in alphabetical order by organisation, they are the minimalist’s best friend. Once they start getting full, you can’t keep adding to them otherwise they refuse to close. So, then you go back to the 3 S’s….

#Unclutter 2017

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short series on decluttering throughout January. If living a clutter-less life is one of your goals for 2017, then I hope that these posts will have helped you on your journey.

Coming up in February

February heralds the start of a new series entitled #FrugalFebruary. We’ll start with money-saving tips on food and groceries, but also explore aspects of eco-minimalism. If there’s anything you’d particularly like to focus on, just drop me a line.

12 thoughts on “#Unclutter 2017 – The 3 S’s of paperwork

  1. Though I always shred on the go to ensure that I am free of papers, I usually end up storing some that I feel too lazy scanning. There are still lots of papers I have to tackle. I find it hard to not store receipts as well.

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  2. Please focus on getting rid of unnecessary plastic for food containers and packaging and plastic grocery bags. This clutter associated with food and groceries harms the environment. It’s possible to eliminate or at least greatly reduce it. I’ve been following the blog myplasticfreelife.com and now I eliminate one kind of plastic every week. It feels great and I don’t miss it!

    I love your posts. Doing this decluttering work makes me feel lighter and freer. Thanks for all you do! Pat Bennett

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    1. Thank you, Pat! We hope to feature a guest post on eco-minimalism during #FrugalFebruary, so this will undoubtedly give us more food for thought (if you’ll pardon the pun)! Food packaging is something about which I had an email exchange with another reader; it’s a real challenge, especially if you shop online. Thanks for the recommendation about myplasticfreelife.com!

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  3. Loved the post. I just did a clean out of old bills. Found some 2 yrs old. Not too bad. Looking forward to February posts. I feed a house of 6. And we have 5 dogs. Glad I stumbled onto your blog. Spent 5 wonderful years near Ipswich with the military in the 80’s, I was active Air Force. Look forward to your fresh outlook on all things minimalism.

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    1. Thank you, Karenanne! Our dog has a budget line of all his own, but your 5 dogs would need their own spreadsheet! Thanks for your kind words. I know the part of the world you stayed in when you were here. Good to know the blog still resonates at a distance.

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  4. Thank you for your information! I love how easy it is to read your posts. Clear and simple! Awesome. On my way to scan, shred, and store! Blessings.

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