Chuck That Paper Pile!

Paper…paper…paper! Don’t you sometimes feel like you are drowning in papers…that pile of papers that is at your house somewhere …or everywhere! And it’s probably at the office too, right? It seems like we are inundated with mail, ads, invoices, invites, cards, flyers, bills, correspondence, on and on it goes.


For me, being clutter-free is an avid and constant goal. But it takes work Bossgals!  Without a system in place or some very steadfast habits, it can rack up a frighteningly tall stack. Am I right?


And don’t think I’m getting on your case ladies, because it is NOT your fault. We are inundated; we are flooded, and it becomes a never-ending battle.  I do remember years ago that one of my best girlfriends used to say that she could never find that pile o’ papers anywhere in my house. And in all honesty, I don’t think I really have it there. But I’ll tell you where I do….my problem zone is at the office!


I’ve been thinking about how it is that in my home I can be truly clutter-free, but why am I not carrying that over into my office space? Well here is what I came up with. At home, I have a kind of system that I use, which keeps the pile low or non-existent. But clearly I am not using that system at work.


I thought it might be helpful to share with you what I do, and I’ve made a personal resolution to put it in place at my office too.  So here goes Girlbosses:


The first step is to look carefully at your big old pile. Where are most of the papers coming from? Are they bills? Is it mail and ads? Is it kids’ school paperwork and teacher flyers? Once you determine what the real clutter culprit is, then you can take the steps necessary to squash it.  If it is bills let’s say, maybe you could go paperless and handle all the bills online. This definitely promotes a more clutter-free environment. Just be sure that you will still get notifications and reminders for when you need to pay so you don’t accidentally get a late fee.  By going paperless, you’ve decreased the mail you get, and you can just keep record of it in a file on your computer, so there’s no need to file the papers which also takes up space.


Is your stack of papers loaded up with magazines or newspapers? For many of us, we get subscriptions by the dozens, but we may not even have the time to read them all. Does that sound like you? For those clutter culprits, try canceling the subscriptions that you just aren’t getting to on a regular basis.


And what about the mailers, the ads, the junk mail that grows and grows? I have one rule when I open my mail. The stack of mail must ALL be dealt with. No re-creating another pile. And let me tell you Bossgal, you’ve got to be super tough with yourself to achieve this. No excuses, ok? I call it “ONE and DONE.” You only get to look at it, and touch that paper once. If not what usually happens is we look, we aren’t certain what to do with it, so we put it back down into the same pile. No no no! One and done ladies! Because as busy women going after our dreams, who has the time to look at it, put it back into a pile, and then look at it again another time?


So—if it is something I don’t need or won’t use, then to the trash it goes! If it is something I may need in the near future, I put it in a file and immediately it goes in the file cabinet. I have always found the file cabinet to be a great way to organize and keep stuff off counters and not out in the open.


Now for the Mamas out there—what to do about the kids’ artwork. Here is my suggestion. If you like to hang it up on the fridge or on a wall, be choosy. Don’t over-clutter it. Keep it simple and go sparingly. If it is something you want to remember, take a photo of it with your phone. And then to the cloud it goes! And then you are free to throw the original out.


What about those invites to events, parties, and grand openings? When those come in the mail—here’s what I do. If I want to display it, then I do on a magnet board or something. If not, right when I open them, I take a picture of it on my phone so I will have all the details such as the address, time of the event etc. and I put it into my calendar right then too. It’s even super helpful to put into your calendar “buy gift,” etc. a few days before.


And there you have my tricks Boss babes. So, I’m going to ask that you give this a try for three weeks. Just see how it goes. Promise me you will give it a true shot. If you absolutely hate these tricks, then you can always go back to the paper pile. But maybe, just maybe it will be the beginning of a clutter-free space. Wouldn’t that be nice?


And for sure, if you come up with some other tips…please share! Because we can always learn from and support each other. And if you’re got another girlboss that you think would love the topics we chat about here, send her a link to this podcast or blog. Because the more bossgals we can support, the bigger our circle becomes, and the stronger we all are.


I’m definitely committed to doing this clutter-free system at work, which is something that I haven’t always done. I’m becoming a pro at it in my home, probably because that is my sanctuary, my peaceful hideaway, my retreat. But it is time for this Bossgal to put it to work in the office too.


Until next time, remember to stay inspired and keep on crushin’ it!