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Free Yourself From Paper Clutter

Keep paper in its place by using the following tips to cut down on paper clutter.

Excerpted from Houseworks, by Cynthia Townley Ewer

Decide to Decide

What force lies at the bottom of paper pileups? Like all clutter problems, the culprit is deferred decision-making. It's fun to flip through the day's mail at the kitchen table, but if it's left there to molder, it'll have to be sorted again later. Chances are, important items will go missing.

Instead, decide what to do with each piece of paper the first time you handle it. Ask yourself, "Will this item need to be paid, answered or filed?" then drop the paper into the appropriate folder of your Action File. An immediate sort-and-stow operation heads off paper clutter at the source.

Keep It or Toss It?

Desktop efficiency experts tell us that the 20/80 Rule is alive, well, and running amok amongst the filing cabinets. Specifically, we'll need only 20 percent of the papers that are entrusted to any filing system; the remaining 80 percent are never seen, consulted or handled again.

When adding to your household files, always keep the 20/80 Rule in mind in order to cut down on clutter in the filing cabinet. Resolve to limit the contents of your filing cabinet to that important 20 percent; discard any item that won't be needed again.

Excerpted from Houseworks, by Cynthia Townley Ewer

Text Copyright © 2006, 2010, Cynthia Townley Ewer, extracts from Houseworks, reproduced with permission from Dorling Kindersley Limited

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