Get Ready for the New Year – Time to Organize Your Paperwork!

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Everyone has a certain amount of clutter when it comes to old papers and documents. Hopefully, you are not quite ready to be on an episode of “Hoarders,” but you still may need help to organize your paperwork.

Many times, it can be difficult to distinguish what documents and paper statements are worth keeping. Which ones should you throw away?

Whether it’s a filing cabinet full of documents or a desk piled with old papers, you need to take action. De-cluttering these items can help to make sense of your important documents. You’ll also create a more organized home or office.

Get Ready for the New Year - Time to Organize Your Paperwork!


Many people choose not to get rid of documents because they contain important information. However, it’s easy to get around this obstacle by purchasing a shredder. Shredding unimportant documents as they come in helps the clutter from further piling up.

Home paper shredders are fairly inexpensive. You can also use multi-blade scissors that can do the job equal to a paper shredder. The task will take a little more effort and time, though.

If you don’t want to shred your papers daily, keep a bin on hand to collect them in. Then once a week, shred them all at once. The key to a successful plan to organize your paperwork is to create a plan that works for you.


Purchasing a scanner is a great way to de-clutter yourself from old papers and documents. Instead of saving and filing all of your papers, simply scan the original documents and store it on your desktop, laptop or tablet.

This is a great way to organize your papers into folders. Plus, papers can be easily printed if you ever need a paper copy. It’s also a great way to easily find anything you might be looking for by using the search or find option.

Scanners come in many forms from solo scanners to printer/scanner combos with photo print or faxing ability. Neat products for scanning come with software that will allow you to easily file and find scanned documents. The NeatDesk for PC has multiple sized inserts perfect for receipts and business cards as well as full sized documents.

Paperless statements help organize your paperwork

Many companies offer the option for paperless statements. This is a great way to cut down on clutter from the source. Plus, you’ll take advantage of the many benefits that can come from opting for paperless statements. Many companies offer discounts on services and percentages off for opting for paperless statements.

Financial information and personal information is guarded with identity theft protection and username/password protected websites. There is no paper trail to worry about. Nor, no need to go through the trouble of shredding old statements. Information from previous statements can be saved for years through the company’s individual website.

What should you keep?

The key thing to remember about de-cluttering your old papers and documents is to knowing what documents are unnecessary. Some things like old bank statements and electric bill stubs can be easily shredded. Other documents are worth holding onto, such as school transcripts.

Items that require a payment for printout like duplicate copies of birth certificates, marriage licenses and school credit transcripts aren’t able to be scanned and reprinted because of the encoding on the actual document.

However, other old papers may seem like important keepers but are easily accessible online for free. It’s important to go through all your old papers and start on a clean slate to cut down on future paper clutter. When you organize your paperwork, you have a more organized life!

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Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, wen she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s writing about country living and artisan culture.
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