How To Quickly Clear Paper Clutter

by | Dec 28, 2017 | Organizing ADHD | 2 comments

Desk basket full of papper clutter and help signWhat do organized people know that you don’t? How to quickly clear paper clutter. In fact, one of the first things you’ll notice when you enter an organized person’s home or office is the absence of paper clutter.

Sure you might see a few files sitting out or a couple of pieces of mail, but most organized people don’t have much paper lying about.

So what do they know that you don’t?

How to quickly decide which papers to keep and which to toss.

How to Quickly Clear Paper Clutter

Here’s a simple check list to help you decide which papers to keep and which to toss.

  • How will I use this information?
    Can you honestly answer how you’ll use what’s on that paper? (“I might need it sometime” is not a good reason to keep anything.) Will you need it for filing your taxes, do your work, or for any legal reason? I find most people keep way more paper than necessary.
  • What is the worst possible thing that would happen if I didn’t have this piece of paper?
    Would you go to prison? Fail an IRS audit? Not have the answer to a client’s question? If nothing would happen if you got rid of the piece of paper, shred or recycle it!
  • Is the information still current?
    Did the seminar or party already happen? Is it old news? A catalog from two years ago? Get rid of it!
  • Can I get the information somewhere else?
    I started organizing people in the dark ages before smart phones and high-speed Internet. Clients had to have elaborate file systems to store all their vital resource information. How the world has changed. In our world of Google searches and digital storage like Evernote you can get rid of most paper reference information.
  • Do I need to keep the whole thing?
    For articles and emails you do need to keep just print or cut out the essential bits and recycle the rest. Fewer papers to file and save means less paper cluttering up your world.

The Clear Paper Clutter Quick Solution

Still can’t decide what to do with that piece of paper? Follow Dana’s Discard Dilemma Rules:

  • When in doubt save legal and tax information.
  • When in doubt toss resource information.

Using these questions will go a long way toward helping you quickly clear paper clutter from your office and home.

These tips on how to clear paper clutter are a taste of what you’ll learn in my upcoming program, Clutter-Free with ADHD. 10 weeks devoted to clearing out and cleaning up. Starting  Tuesdays on January 16, 2018.

Sign up for the Mini Master Class or subscribe to ADHD Success and to get a special discount only for ADHD Success Subscribers. Registration opens on January 1, 2018.

Yes, we’ll talk lots more about how to clear paper clutter in Clutter-Free with ADHD.


  1. Margi

    I’m no ADHD but found this article super helpful for deciding what to save or purge while organizing my office. Thank you!

    • Dana Rayburn

      Thanks for letting me know, Margi. So happy to help.


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