The “Less Paper” Challenge

File cabinets bursting at the seams? Lots of excess paper lying around your home? Join me in the “less paper” challenge…

Two weeks ago I wrote about whether going paperless was really a possibility, why it’s something that I want to strive for, and my particular challenges in doing so.  (See Paperless Home Office- Dream or Reality?.   For now, I’ve decided that the intermediate goal of just having “less paper” is more realistic than truly going paperless.  Most of us don’t have the time to be purists about these things, and it really doesn’t have to be all or nothing, does it?

Back in May of this year, I purchased the , which gives me the technology to quickly scan up to 50 pages at once and instantly create PDF files.  In just the little time I’ve used it, I can see that this scanner is such a great tool that I really should put it through its paces!  My only excuses for not doing so are that I haven’t made this project a priority. And like many (most?) people, I can be quite the procrastinator!

So I’ve decided to publicly challenge myself by creating some very specific goals.  I figure this is the only way I’ll actually make some real progress!  My goals are:

Week 1:  Clear enough space in my two-drawer file cabinet for client files that are sitting out (because they currently don’t fit.)  I plan to do this by scanning and then shredding older files, making room for the more recent ones.

Week 2: Clear even more from the same two-drawer file cabinet so that there is extra space (at least one third of a drawer) that can be used for future files.

Week 3:  Purge our personal and household files to eliminate approximately one third of the paper stored there.  Many of the documents in these files aren’t important enough to be scanned, and can instead be just recycled or shredded.

Week 4:  Go through my two teenagers’ schoolwork from last year (some of it is still hiding out in their closets and cluttering up our family room) and recycle most of it.  Stash a few keepsakes from the collection in manila envelopes to keep for posterity.

Week 5:  Throw away at least half to two-thirds of my old magazines, catalogs, and other stuff in the “to be read someday” category.  I do most of my reading on a Kindle Fire now, so it’s very unlikely that I’ll miss these.

Week 6:  Gather up at least one large box of paperbacks (many of them from the kids’ English classes) and take them to the recycle book store.

Now I realize that some of these goals shouldn’t be very difficult.  But even with small things, it can be so easy to procrastinate. I’ll report back at the end of each week to let you know whether I’ve accomplished each goal and how much time it took.  If I’m successful, I know that I’ll feel really good about just making progress towards my “less paper” goal, and who knows, maybe I’ll continue on by setting some new (and maybe more difficult?) goals.  Baby steps are the key…

How about joining me in this challenge?

Do you have some paper you’d like to purge?  As you can see, not all of the goals I’ve set are dependent upon having a scanner, so if you don’t have one, you can still participate.  Merely going through file drawers and paper piles with the goal of getting rid of any paper that is no longer useful or relevant can make a big difference.  And some of the goals don’t involve files at all, but focus on other forms of paper (magazines, catalogs, books) that may be creating clutter around the house.  Please take a moment to share your own goals for having “less paper” in your home or office!


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Related posts:

  1. The “Less Paper” Challenge – Week 1
  2. Are You a “Paper Stasher”?
  3. Paper Shredders- You Get What You Pay For!

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