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Paper clutter can be annoying to get rid of, especially when there are stacks everywhere. Regardless of how careful you are, paper piles up, and organizing large amounts of paper can be overwhelming.

However, embracing an eco-friendly approach to paper organization and using a digital system keeps your space clutter-free and comfortable. Here are some steps to help you eliminate paper clutter and organize your life digitally.

1. Assess Your Current Situation

Woman checking papers in the office

Decluttering and organizing your space can be an overwhelming and stressful process. Initially, you may feel uncertain about how and where to start the tidying process. But taking a few minutes to assess your current paper clutter situation before diving into a complete digital makeover helps greatly.

You can start by categorizing your papers according to how important they are. Then, determine where you have the most papers, like your office drawers, desk, or bookshelves. Also, determine what storage devices and resources you’ll need for digital organization, like a free cloud storage solution, an image scanner, and mobile applications.

Assessing your space makes decluttering easier and allows you to plan an effective strategy for digitization. You can even visualize your digital system and your new workspace to motivate you for the tasks ahead.

2. Digitize Existing Paperwork

A woman scanning a document
Image Credit: pressfoto/Freepik

You may search for a specific document but can't find it because your work table is covered with stacks of papers, old bills, receipts, and printed emails. Digitizing your paperwork means you no longer need to keep or store piles of documents and invoices. You won’t have to search through filing cabinets and drawers to find specific files.

Digitize your paperwork by scanning and storing them, allowing you to retrieve information whenever needed. You can use an image scanner or scanner apps on your iPhone and Android smartphone to capture your documents. Then, you can save your scans as JPG or PDF. This will allow you to easily share your files with others, eliminating the need to compile and send papers by courier.

3. Enable Online Billing and Statements

Imagine receiving all your bills, receipts, and financial statements via email. There’d be no need to rummage through stacks of receipts and invoices looking for a particular slip, and your space will be paper free.

With online billing and statements, you significantly reduce the amount of paper clutter around you. This allows you to practice environmental conservation by reducing the environmental impact of paper production.

You can receive all your invoices and receipts online, making them easily accessible via your mobile device or laptop. Online billing also helps you track your payment history and record transactions and expenses.

Besides, numerous receipt manager apps and free invoice apps offer features like expense tracking and payment reminders, which let you stay up-to-date and avoid missed payments.

4. Automate Digital Document Signing

document signings apps for online documents

The world has become so digital that you can easily maneuver the hassle of signing documents with a pen on paper. With online document signing apps, you can save time and eliminate the paper clutter generated by printing and signing physical copies of documents.

Some digital document signing platforms also offer data encryption as a security measure, reducing the risk of document tampering.

Adopting a digital document signing practice helps you cultivate a paperless mindset, where you become more receptive to embracing other paper decluttering practices and organizing your lifestyle digitally.

5. Store Documents in the Cloud

cloud computing simplified in diagram

Cloud storage has become one of the world’s most innovative ways of storing and preserving sensitive data. It’s a great way to keep your space paper clutter-free and organized. You won’t need to store or preserve many physical copies of papers anymore, eliminating the need to keep documents in cabinets, binders, and shelves.

Storing your files in the cloud also helps you manage and organize your documents better. Numerous cloud storage platforms provide tools for easy organization, ensuring easy retrieval of files. Cloud storage technology also offers high-end security services that safeguard your document, allowing you to share files with others safely.

When not stored properly, physical documents are more prone to damage, loss, and theft. However, storing your files in the cloud ensures long-term preservation, protecting your documents from damage and misplacement.

Moreover, cloud storage offers ample space to store as many documents as you want and transfer them to others via your mobile device or laptop.

6. Set Printer Defaults to Double-Sided

Woman using a printer in an office

Double-sided printing involves customizing your printer to print on both sides of the paper automatically. This helps reduce the amount of paper clutter in your space.

Printing less paper means reducing the number of documents you physically store in your cabinets and shelves. It also encourages you to minimize paper usage and aim for a clutter-free, organized environment and lifestyle.

Duplex printing not only helps you cut the volume of paper clutter by half; it also lets you save paper costs and promotes environmental conservation by reducing the number of trees used to make paper.

7. Eliminate Desk Paper/Letter Trays

Desk paper trays often become a convenient spot to stack up incoming papers, which causes paper clutter. You can start organizing your life digitally by eliminating your paper trays. Yes, keeping paper trays can be tempting, especially when you want easy access to your files.

However, if you wish for a clutter-free and organized workspace, you should opt for a digital approach to paper organization. With paper trays out of the way, you can process and manage incoming documents faster and keep a tidy desk.

Additionally, you’ll spend less time organizing and cleaning desk paper trays when you store and manage your documents digitally. Eliminating paper trays also helps you develop a clutter-free mindset, influencing you to adopt a more organized lifestyle.

Transition Into a Paper-Free Space

It’s normal for paper to accumulate over time while working. However, embracing a digital approach to organizing your documents and maintaining a paper-free space is a more efficient and sustainable way to manage your business and life.

You’ll find that digitizing your paper helps you organize your personal and work life efficiently. It also prioritizes essential documents, making them easily accessible and better stored.