5 Paper Decluttering Tips for the Office

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5 Paper Decluttering Tips for the Office

Are you losing the battle at work when it comes to paper clutter?

Do you want cut down on the amount of paper that crosses your desk or workstation?

Having less paper clutter in the office is entirely possible.

You just need to make a simple plan and take action!

In this post, I offer several tips to help you cut down on the amount of paper clutter at work.

These tips all have one goal in common: to help you reduce the influx of paper to your desk, workstation, or work area.


Go easy on the print button.

One of the simplest ways to reduce the amount of paper in your office is to curtail your use of the printer.

It’s unnecessary to print out every single email or electronic document that’s stored on your computer.

Use the printer only when it is absolutely necessary to have a hard copy of a document.

Remember, choosing to print a document now, means you will have to deal with that paper document at a later date.

You may decide to only print out documents when you need to proof or review final documents, or when you need to have backup copies of electronically signed copies of contracts or agreements, bills or invoices.

Scan or enter business card data.

Have a stack or two of business cards laying about your desk? Use an electronic scanner to transfer business card information into your contacts program or database. Another option is to manually enter data. When you’re finished entering data, shred and/or recycle business cards.

What about those bits of business-related information you may have scribbled down on a piece of paper? The same idea applies. Gather and type names, addresses, emails, phone numbers into your electronic contact or address book, or write in this information into a paper calendar or planner address book, if you have one. Shred and/or recycle paper when you’re done.

Unsubscribe from paper-based subscriptions.

Do you subscribe to paper magazines, journals, catalogs, and newspapers? Are you tired of having all this extra paper lying around your cubicle or office? If so, you may want to reconsider switching your paper-based subscriptions to digital ones.

Create a short list of all your current paper subscriptions. Then, decide which of the publications you’d like to convert to digital. You can update your subscription preferences right away via website or phone.

Corral receipts.

If your wallet, briefcase, purse, or workspace is covered in receipts, you’ll want to do this task ASAP!

Find an empty decorative or cardboard box, plastic or glass container, or hefty envelope pouch, and place it in on your desk or a nearby countertop. You’ve now got a centralized location in which to store receipts.

The next step is to gather any and all office expense or business trip receipts, and place them in the container. Add receipts to your container any time you find or accumulate or receipts in future. Don’t forget to set aside time in the near future to organize and process your receipts.

Set up a recycling and/or shredding bin.

Lastly, it’s important to have an office setup that allows you to easily dispose of unwanted papers. Consider adding two new bins to your workspace: a recycling bin and a shredding bin.

The recycling bin is for papers that can be recycled as-is, such as bits of scrap paper, unmarked envelopes, old printouts, and the like.

The shredding bin is a holding space for documents of a confidential or sensitive nature. Use this bin to temporarily store materials until you get a chance to shred documents at the end of the workday or week.

How about you? What steps are you going to take to cut down on the amount of paper clutter in your office or workspace? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.