Paper Management Hacks: Lifestyle Paperwork

Even in today’s “digital” world, we end up with a lot of paper in our homes.

That paper can pile up and create clutter stress on the entire family, especially if you’re not sure where to start to throw things out and if you’re afraid of losing vital information.

What is “lifestyle” paper?

This is paper that’s entertainment or helps our lifestyle in some fashion – like magazines, coupons and recipes.

We’ve all signed up for a magazine or newspaper subscription that we intended to read, but then our interest wanes and those unread editions pile up. First of all, if you haven’t read something in a few weeks or months, ask yourself if you still want to receive this. If it’s a “no” – unsubscribe.

  • Monthly magazines and newsletters – don’t keep more than three months’ worth
  • Weekly newspapers, etc. – don’t keep more than three weeks
  • Manuals that explain how to put together furniture that you already put together? Toss.
  • Books that you haven’t read in a year? Donate (You haven’t read it yet, and you probably won’t. Someone will be happy to read it!)
  • Books you’ve read and don’t need to keep for reference? Donate
  • To-go menus, maps – if you can find these online, toss them out.
  • Holiday cards that don’t contain a sentimental message inside? Toss 
  • Expired coupons – toss

Julie Morgenstern who wrote Organizing from the Inside Out has this list of lifestyle paperwork categories to consider purging or moving to digital:

  • Address lists 
  • Books and tapes
  • Church or synagogue
  • Classes
  • Correspondence
  • Decorating ideas (you can “pin” these on Pinterest)
  • Directions and Maps (if available on digital, no need for paper copy)
  • Entertaining
  • Events calendars
  • Fitness
  • Gift ideas (an idea here is to create a Google Document that you can carry with you in your phone)
  • Hobbies
  • Humor 
  • Memorabilia
  • Old calendars
  • Pets
  • Recipes (try a Google Drive Document for these)
  • Restaurants
  • Self-improvement
  • Travel – day trips
  • Weekends
  • Vacations
  • Volunteer work

Dawn Dugle is a professional organizer and time management expert.