No. of Recommendations: 10
In my email today, from FlyLady. Must have taken her ages to write all this. I've omitted italics to make it easier to read, and left out a little bit of chatty stuff to make it shorter:

"Let's talk about our paper clutter!!
You all have it, so let's see exactly what it amounts to.
1. Piles of newspapers.
2. Baskets of unread Magazines
3. Junk mail
4. Boxes of old school papers(from college or kids papers)
5. Recipes
6. Paperback books.
7. Piles of unopened mail
8. Tax papers
9. medical records
10. Paid bills receipts.
11. Old Phone books.
13. Bank statements
14. File Cabinets full of who knows what!
15. Family pictures
16. Birth Certificates.
17. Purses full of STUFF
18. Maps
19. Travel Brochures
20. Organizational Books
21. Computer printouts from FlyLady email and other websites
22. 3X5 cards
23. Other office supplies we are addicted to. File folders, dividers.

I could go on and on. You know that I am right about what is in your boxes, piles and drawers. Lets look at each area of clutter one at a time!

1. Piles of newspapers.
Did you know that by the time you get around to reading a day old newspaper that you would have heard most of it on the radio or TV. Instead of holding on to them so you can read when you get a chance, discard every day when the next paper comes. If you go two or three days without reading, save yourself some money discontinue these newspapers.

You will be rid of the clutter and the guilt from not reading what you have paid good money for. Try reading on-line or listening to the public Radio. You will be surprised at how much news you pick up without even having to concentrate....
Now for those coupons that come in the newspapers. If you haven't used them then why buy the paper. For SHEs [SHE is Sidetracked Home Executive - R99] Coupons are a challenge. But once you get organized, you will use your Wednesday desk day to clip and save, while you make out your grocery list. For now, set the aside
or give them to someone you know that will use them. The guilt you feel when you see these unused coupons or go to the grocery without them is not worth a dime. I want you happy not guilt ridden.

2. Baskets of unread Magazines: This is a biggy for every SHE I know and love. We hate to part with our beloved magazines. We might actually need something we have seen or we might miss a good article. Bolognie! If we have seen something in a magazine, just go and try to find it again. You can see it in your minds eye, but there is no way you are ever going to find the magazine you saw it in. Without a Readers Guide, you are hopelessly lost. So why waste hours seaching
for a picture, when you can go online and find your answer if you really need it.

If you receive magazines in the mail and you never open and read, then rethink this money you are spending each year on the subscription. If you have a basket of magazines that you hate to part with, it is easier if you do it on a weekly basis. This is why I purge magazines each week.

I put them in my car and as I go about my week, I drop them off in different places that I go to. meetings, Doctor's offices, car services centers, court houses, offices. Just think about having to wait in a waiting room with 5 year old magazines. How about getting your car worked on and there are only men's magazines. This is why I take the opportunity to get them out of my home and put them where they will be appreciated. Also If I have not read them, I take the time to do this before I leave them in the waiting rooms. LOL

One other thing I do, I have an exacto knife by my chair and a notebook with lots of sheet protectors. If I see an article that I want to keep or a picture for my want book, then I cut it out right then and there. It is my magazine. No one will miss it if I give it away. I have my book of my "likes and keeps" without having to spend hours searching for a certain magazine. ...

3. Junk mail: Throw it away as soon as it comes in the house. It does not even deserve the right to enter your home. Throw it away, shred them or burn them. Be careful with those credit card applications we get daily in the mail. Tear out the name and numbers. I throw them in my fireplace.

4. Boxes of old school papers(from college or kids papers):Do you still have a box full of papers from High school or college? Get rid of this stuff. It was another life. You are not going to need this stuff, the books or the papers with those grades. We had rather not remember.
Now for your childrens papers. These are hard to part with, but let your children decide. If your children are grown, Give them back to them. Or save only a special one from each year for their scrapbook.
Not every paper is a keepsake, believe it or not. If you save everything, that deminishes the value of those special ones. They get lost in the clutter.

5. Recipes: We SHEs are addicted to cookbooks and recipes. But how often do we use them. We dream of being this wonderful cook, but the truth is we cook the same ole things all the time. What happens when
you want to find a recipe you saw in some magazine or some cookbook in your library or drawer of recipes. You can't find it! I have reduced the number of cookbooks that I have. Only the ones I love have I kept. ...

6. Paperback books. If you have read them, pass them on to someone else. Give them to the library.

7. Piles of unopened mail: If you have not opened it in three months, then it is probably trash any way. Open the newest mail first and toss the old bills. Sometimes you can just look at the date and toss. Sort
it over a trash can.

8. Tax papers: Do you have tax papers from 20 years ago? If so there is no need to keep these things. Our tax papers fit in one manilla envelope. Our copies of the tax returnes and receipts, and directions for the schedules are all in this envelope. This takes no room at all. We also have a file for receipts that effect the cost basis of our home. This is all that we keep.

We do have 20 years worth, but they only take up 5 inches in a file drawer. Each envelope is labeled. We
don't keep every cancelled check, beside now days it costs money to get your cancelled checks. We keep our check registers. Our Check registers tell our history if needed.

9. medical records: Children's shot records are needed until they start college and sometime up until the girls become wives and mothers, to prove that they have had the rebella shot. Health dept. have been know to purge records without contacting you. This happened
to me and I had to have another shot. Not fun. I don't like them.

10. Paid bills receipts. We only keep insurance receipts and tax deductible cancelled checks. All the others I have a check to prove that I have paid them. All of the other receipts go in the trash and get burned in the fireplace.

11. Old Phone books. Get rid of these. I keep one old one in my car for when I need a phone number or address.

12. CATALOGS: We all have these. We love to look at them. They keep coming every day. Get rid of them. If you want to order something then do it and toss the catalog. There are many online catalogs. Don't hold
on to these.

13. Bank statements: We balance them and toss them. Keeping only the check we need for tax purposes and our house cost basis. The rest are burned.

14. File Cabinets full of who knows what! We need to go through these files, and toss. There is hardly anything that we really need to file. I have two crates that I started 2 years ago when I became a county commissioner. I have not looked in these files for a year and a half. This tells me, that I didn't need to waste my time filin this stuff. So now I read my memos and file in the trash can. The Trash can is my favorite filing cabinet. If I need something, I have a clerk that keeps a copy of every memo. All I have to do is pick up the phone and ask her to look up something for me. I no longer fill up my home with tons of papers that I will ever look at again.
For my mother's bills (I am responsible for them), I have to keep every receipt. I use a brief case and an accordian Alphabet file. This is portable and I have to use it with her social workers and doctors at times..

15. Family pictures: This is a problem we all have. Some people have drawers full of pictures that are unlabeled. We have all seen old pictures in our mother's homes that we could not identify. This is so
sad. My Mom did one thing that was very nice. She had a scrapbook for each of our family members. With our history in it. Newspaper pictures, snapshots, school picture and report cards.

16. Birth Certificates/Marriage Certificate /Passports /Death Certificates/Divorce papers /adoption papers. These all need to be protected in a fire proof safe or a bank lock box. Make copies to keep at home, so you will have them when you need them, but keep the orginals in a safe place. A place to keep them at home: In a notebook with sheet protector or in a file labeled Important Family Records.
Also savings bonds need to be keep in a lock box too.

17. Purses full of STUFF: Each week clean out your purse. Most of what is in there is trash. You might even find some money. I clean out my purse on Fridays.

18. Maps: You have old maps in your car that are from the 80's. Did you know that they are just about ready to fall apart. Get rid of them. Buy you a new one for your state. Or go to your local county commissioners office and get a copy of your states latest DOT map.

19. Travel Brochures: We have all these places we want to go, but the brochures are 10 years old. Get rid of them the prices are out dated as well as the phone numbers. Make a list of the place you would like
to see and look them up on the internet.

20. Organizational Books: This is one of your first homework assignments. Put your Organizational books away. There is no way you can follow several programs at one time. Pick one and stick to it. If you choose my messages then put the other things away, even the 3X5 card files that Pam and Peggy developed in the 70's. Even their messages have evolved into routines, zones, and a basic weekly plan. They endorse my way of teaching their system. We are so blessed to have them as mentors. A hound dog can not catch 8 rabbits at one time, she has to pick one and stay focused.

21. Computer printouts from FlyLady email and other websites: Don't print, file it in the computer. Delete all my emails, they are all on the website if you want them. Or I can send it to you again.

22. 3X5 cards: If you have old card files, throw them away. They seem to lay a big guilt trip on us for setting them up and not doing them. Purge these from your home. Set up your routines with them and toss them. This is what I did. Sorted and put them in doing order. Then they were history.

23. Other office supplies we are addicted to. File folders, dividers. We all have lots of this stuff. I have one drawer for my office supplies. This takes up part of one of my empty drawers in my filing cabinet.

You all have been asking for Paperwork clutter problem solutions. I hope I have touched on this subject. Keep in mind that these problems are not going to get fixed over night, but you can stop them from piling up, by dealing with your mail as soon as it comes into your
home, throwing away the trash and only keeping what you will need.
Toss the rest."

Wow, what a comprehensive analysis of the Paper Problem! I actually feel better about my paper situation than I did before reading this. I caught on to the virtual paper thing a year ago, so I don't keep catalogs if there is a website, and even get my Datek broker statements electronically and keep in a file in the pc.

Still struggling to weed out paper in fat files
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