I don’t know about you, but I actually daydream about having a home that does not have stacks of paper, and several overflowing filing cabinets and boxes of “must keep” paperwork. At 65 and married over 40 years, just the “bare essentials” of warranties, deeds, education, health, social security, medicare, VA, and military paperwork would be a hefty stack. But add to that banking and legal documents, lists of contacts in various places, lists of all kinds in various places, tax information, and those things that you are not sure whether you need to keep or not – and it becomes overwhelming.
I am not even sure how I initially came across Abby Lawson’s blog. But I loved her style and writing and signed up for her email notifications. One day a notice popped up that her husband (Donnie) had created an “Epic Post” on moving to a paperless home. Organization both excites and stumps me – often at the same time! I jumped into the posted article (which really was epic in length) and ultimately purchased the e-book guide. Shhhh….don’t tell Donnie, but I printed it out!
After following the initial guidelines and adapting it to our home needs, I realized that I faced one major hurdle – a spouse who is NOT interested and doesn’t really trust “virtual” filing systems. He finds the process of accessing virtual environments frustrating and PREFERS paper. So I have scaled back my personal expectations a bit and am moving toward a “Less Paper” home instead. This adaptive approach is something Donnie stresses in his instructions. We each have to find our own level of comfort. But “Less Paper” is way better than “OMG! SO MUCH PAPER!!”
Now that I am understanding the process better and how I can make it work well for my unique situation – I LOVE IT! I HAVE reduced a lot of the paper “clutter” that was making me feel tense and disorganized. And even better, I know that I can continue moving toward even less physical paper in the future. Part of the process involves going through existing paperwork and deciding where it should be “homed” in the virtual world. But that same review process is a valuable tool for organizing the physical paper that you may decide you need to keep.
Just like I gather and hoard lovely crafting products, I tend to hoard paper items “just in case”. I have added a new folder in my virtual and physical filing cabinets that is “Toss or File” I will only touch the items in this folder when I put them in and the next touchpoint requires I make a final decision. This has saved me a lot of anxiety about something potentially getting lost or incorrectly discarded while working toward less paper. If I honestly don’t know what to do with a document, putting it in the “Toss or File” for one last possible review gives me the mental space to put some context around it.
I’ve included links in this article to both Donnie’s epic post and to the page where you can purchase the e-book. If you are wondering how to control the paper madness in your home, I highly recommend these valuable resources!