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Navigating your paper clutter - is digital better?

Updated: May 31

pile of random papers

So let's start by being honest here - paper clutter is a real issue. And if you are anything like me, you might have been told to keep all of the paper just in case you needed it. Not only that - if you were someone who got magazines and newspapers, you might have even been encouraged to keep pages, clippings, or even the whole magazine so you can go back to it as needed. At that time, it was a valuable resource. So we kept all the paper. Maybe we decluttered it a bit here and there but there were always paper piles, files, or notebooks.

Fast forward to now - where we can get information at our fingertips. We might not need all of the paper we had in the past. But what do we do with that paper?

I've had clients who have said to me the solution to clear away all of their paper files was to scan them to their computer. And yes, technically there will be no more paper files but the problem with this thinking is that it's still clutter. You are just moving it to the digital world.

It's the same as when someone thinks the solution to clutter is to put everything in containers. It's still clutter - it's just in containers.

So if the solution to paper clutter isn't to scan it all and put it on the cloud or your computer, what is the solution?

It's to sort through and declutter your paper. It sounds simple but it's not. It might take several passes before you feel satisfied with how much paper you have left. After you declutter your paper, you can decide if what is left is better scanned to digital. Because even though something is in the digital world doesn't mean it's not clutter. So you might as well make sure it's worth keeping.

I hope this helps you on your decluttering journey.

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