The home office – say goodbye to paper
If you’re a fellow paper lover, it’s okay to take a minute and process what we’re about to say: paper is out.
“My big word in offices is simplify, simplify, simplify,” says Marcogliese. Barahona and Deinstadt agree – getting rid of paper means getting rid of clutter. (We’re breathing into a paper bag also, but we promise, it will be okay.)
“You probably don’t need the bank and credit card statements – you can find all your records online,” says Barahona. “So shred the paper that comes in the mail if you can find it online, and sign up for paper-free billing. Then, digitize your other papers, even school forms. I take a picture of any form that comes home and upload it to Evernote or Apple Notes, saving it by name, like ‘field trip on January 13.’ Now I can easily find the information I need, and I’m not searching around the house for that piece of paper.”
You can even use note apps to photograph anything important that you’d typically keep on your desk. You can do the same for things in your wallet, like your library card, insurance cards, etc., so you no longer need to carry them around.
And when it comes to jotting down notes, paper tablets (like ReMarkable, ONYX BOOX Note Air and Kindle Scribe) have come a long way. In fact, some would argue that they’re even better than paper – just hear us out on this one. In addition to being lightweight and allowing you to take notes anywhere, you can write on PDFs, read and write on e-books, and some can turn your handwritten notes into a typed document. Can your sticky notes do that?
Once you’ve shredded and recycled all the unnecessary paper, consider how you’ll handle what papers you still need and then move on to the fun stuff – decorating.
“I have one drawer that holds things that I won’t reference often, but I don’t want to let go of,” says Deinstadt. “I use a vertical filing system for active files, like receipts and current client files, so they aren’t piled up on my desk. And I’m a big fan of small baskets for things like bills I need to pay. Everything else, such as necessary paperwork in case of an audit, goes in boxes in the attic.”
Reducing your paper also allows you to put other office-related things in your drawers in cabinets. Marcogliese even recommends finding a drawer or shelf for your printer.
“If you want a super clean office, then have your built-ins, shelves or furniture painted the same color as the walls,” she says. “When everything is the same color, they’ll disappear, and you have a cleaner, more seamless look.”