Brenda Spandrio

Knowing that paper clutter is a challenge for many of my clients, I decided to reach out to my “virtual world” for a guest post.    One of the great things about participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge is the opportunity to meet awesome professionals.  One of these professionals is Brenda Spandrio, also known as The Declutter Lady.

Brenda was kind enough to share her 7 simple steps to help reduce paper and information clutter with us today!  Be sure to show her some love by following her on Twitter @declutterlady.


Paper clutter is a perpetual problem for most people. It can be even more of an issue when we are trying to run a business from home. The concerns are the same, though, we are fearful that we will toss something important or forget to take action that we keep the papers out “where we can see them.” However, what usually happens is that we end up with so many papers on our desk that we don’t see them anyway!

[tweetability]Taking care of incoming information doesn’t have to be difficult.[/tweetability] Here are seven simple steps to handling paper successfully:

Step One: Identify and define the information. Is this a bill? A client invoice? Research for a project?

Step Two:  Determine if any action is required or if it is simply information that needs no further response.

Step Three: Identify if this is archive or reference material. Does the information HAVE to be kept for tax or accounting purposes? Can you find this information on line or does the perpetrator of the information keep copies that you can obtain if necessary? What are the consequences of not having this on hand?

Step Four: Decide the next action required. The bill needs to be paid, invoice processed, the research incorporated into your project. If it is archive or reference material that must be kept, the next action is to file it in the appropriate place.

Step Five: Determine when the action needs to take place. Is there a deadline associated with this? Is it something you want to deal with later (it’s only procrastination if you don’t SCHEDULE when later is!)? Can you take care of this matter in just a couple of minutes right now?

Step Six: Schedule the action in your calendar or planner. Most actions require blocks of time, whether it is 15 minutes for a phone call or a few hours for a major project. We don’t “find” time, we “make” time to work on these things – or they don’t get done.

Step Seven:  Follow through. The most customized system in the world doesn’t help if you are not willing to follow through with the action items you’ve scheduled so meticulously in your calendar. Honor your own plans.

These seven simple steps will enable you to process most information (paper or electronic) quickly and efficiently and keep your office less cluttered and your projects moving forward. And, in the end, you will feel more productive and less stressed.


Which of these steps do you find most beneficial?  Which are the toughest?  Do you use additional steps?  Please share your comments below!!!  Be sure to stop back next week when I’ll share a guest post from a Professional Image Consultant.


(Paper image by nuttakit)