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Unclutter My Life: Paper Mountain Be Gone


The paperless office. Remember that promise? Who has got one? I certainly don’t. I avoid printing as much as possible, use Dropbox to share documents, yet it still seems to accumulate. And I spent most of my work office time last week, sifting and throwing. Hopefully I will be much more productive, now that has been done.

And then there is the paperwork at home! Where does all the paper come from? Receipts for things I no longer own. Of course, you can bet that if I need a receipt to take something back that is faulty, I won’t be able to find it.

Where is that letter?

That letter from the old car insurance company you need to send to the new one as proof of your no claims, you know the one you put in a safe place? In my house the conversation goes something like this. Actually, it was exactly like this.

‘I gave you the letter when it arrived last week’.

‘I put it on the side’.

‘What side would that be then?’

‘The table.’

‘What table?’

‘The dining table.’

‘The one we eat off or the one that is covered in paper waiting to be filed?’

The Pending File

‘Yes, that one.’

Then there is a big sigh and moving around of paper and tutting and maybe a bit of swearing.

And it is eventually found. And it needs to be scanned and emailed to the new insurance company who are, phew, paperless.

Those of you who know me well will know who said what in that conversation. Yet sometimes it is the other way round. Sometimes.

Scan the paper

So in an effort to avoid sweary, sighing, spats and to tackle the paperwork mountain, or be able to find a receipt if I need it,  I got myself a late Christmas present.

A nifty new scanner.

It is going to transform my life. The geeky son installed the software, then I had to work out how to connect it to the mains and then establish why it wasn’t on (hadn’t plugged it in). More time was taken, looking for the on/off switch and discovering there isn’t one. Why? It cleverly turns it self off when inactive! There we were, the two of us, both the wrong side of 55 so officially ‘older persons’, scrabbling around with cables under the desk. And tada!! I have it all set up now so all documents automatically go to Evernote. My filing cabinet on the cloud.


I scanned the letter from the old insurance company and emailed it to my husband. He emailed it to the new insurance company, and now it can be shredded. If I had a shredder.

Refuse, Recycle, Reuse

The good news is that on the big bedroom clear out last week I had three bags that went to charity and filled two big boxes of paper to be recycled.

The bad news is that I found a whole box of paperwork relating to my Nan, which Mom had held on to, as well as all the paperwork I had to handle when Mom died. Piles of paper. Both wills have been settled, there is no outstanding matters to be dealt with, yet I struggle to get rid of it. All because of that old enemy, the ‘Just In Case’ demon. He appears as soon as the clutterbug starts decluttering. Just like some will cut off buttons from old clothes to keep, Just In Case, I keep paper. And passports. Old bank books. And anything else I may need. Just In Case.

What do you find hard to let go of? Do you have any tips? Please feel free to share them, as this house isn’t going to get how I want it unless I banish the Just In Case Demon soon.

In the meantime, I will be happily scanning and hopefully shredding soon.


2 comments on Unclutter My Life: Paper Mountain Be Gone

    1. Alison, thanks for this link. I will take a look. I have also had some tips from some travel bloggers, Married with Luggage (they emailed me to thank me for sharing their posts, how cool is that?) who sold everything to go travelling. And Lisa Cherry Beaumont, a life coach I have been working with, has really helped me too. It is tough, especially when we have busy lives and a whole range of emotions connected to stuff and people we love.

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