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Green Organizing: Tips for Reducing Paper in Your Home

Tips for reducing paper in your homeReducing paper in your home has multiple benefits; not only is it good for the environment, it decreases clutter, which most assuredly brings peace of mind. If every North American with a home PC received and filed bills and statements electronically, we would save an average of 275 billion pieces of paper annually (source:ScanSnap.com). Whether your inspiration for having less paper in your home is to green up your lifestyle, reduce paper piles, or both, here are suggestions for reducing the volume of paper in your home.

4 easy tips for reducing paper in your home

1. Choose electronic statements and pay bills online. Receiving electronic statements and utilizing online bill pay will cut down dramatically on the amount of paper floating around your house. Many vendors offer online bill pay options, as do many banks, but be sure to read the fine print to avoid hidden surcharges.

2. Reduce junk mail. One of the easiest ways to reduce the quantity of mail (and therefore paper) coming through the door is by adding yourself to a "Do Not Mail" list. Here are two great options: DMAChoice.org: For $1 you can remove yourself from direct mailing lists according to criteria you select. It can take 90 days for the changes to take effect, and your elections will be honored for three years. CatalogChoice.org: This service allows you to unsubscribe from unwanted catalogs you receive. The service is free, but requires you to enter a customer number for each catalog. We suggest setting aside catalogs for a month and then processing your requests at once.

3. When possible, select digital books, magazines, and newspapers. These days there are a variety of devices available that allow you to read books, newspapers, and magazines digitally. Not only do e-readers cut down on the amount of paper being used, they are extremely convenient, especially when traveling. With one device you can read multiple items rather than lugging books, magazines, and newspapers around with you.

4. Remember to reduce, reuse and recycle. From this organizer’s perspective, being green and being organized work together well. The less stuff you have, the easier it is to maintain an organized lifestyle. Reducing paper in your home will lessen the chances of piles stacking up. For papers you do accumulate, try to reuse them when possible, and of course recycle any papers that don’t contain sensitive information (for papers that do contain sensitive information, make sure you shred them first!).

Elizabeth Bowman, Innovatively OrganizedTo read more tips from Innovatively Organized and organizing and productivity expert, Elizabeth Bowman, check out the Innovatively Organized blog, where new tips, tricks and the latest information on apps and organizing products are posted regularly.  Innovatively Organized is a Seattle-based organizing and productivity firm that provides effective organizing solutions for busy professionals, teams, and families to better manage their time, increase productivity, and gain control of their spaces. You can contact Elizabeth Bowman via email at elizabeth@innovativelyorganized.com, twitter at @iOrganized or visit her website at InnovativelyOrganized.com.

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