I still have the decluttering bug, but it's definitely getting harder to find things I'm willing to let go of easily. One thing that should be easy is paper clutter. We all know the rules, right? Keep tax stuff for seven years (or forever), bank documents and statements for one year, bills for one month to one year, etc. So why is my two drawer file bursting at the seams?
I keep way too much paper just in case. Just in case I want to remember how laughingly small my first paycheck was, or just in case I want to know how much electricity cost two years ago, or in case I finally want to input my expenses electronically (hahaha!). Sure, occasionally I do look up something, but most of it is just taking up space.
Recently it finally sunk in that I can easily clear out a few files by switching to electronic statements. This was first suggested by the teller at my credit union and I was appalled. How long would they be available online? Seven years? That's not forever! I must have those records and I know I won't print them out, so no, they couldn't stop mailing them to me. But I finally checked out their online statements and guess what? They're available as PDFs, so I can keep everything electronically, just in case, and finally ditch the paper. Same thing with credit card statements. And if you pay your bills electronically you may have access to even more.
Now that I can safely save my statements electronically, I can stop having paper copies mailed to my home and save a few trees in the process.
So to recap, here are some quick tips to reduce your paper clutter:
- Sign up for electronic statements, bills, etc.
- Save your statements electronically
- Once you're sure you have a backup, discard the paper files you no longer need