Time to declutter the clutter!

Time to declutter the clutter!

It’s springtime and with the sudden and much welcomed appearance of sunshine here in Seattlecame the desire to spruce up and organize our home. After being horrified at the bins of mail in the background of a photo I took in my kitchen last week (which I conveniently cropped out before posting), I decided it was time to take action against the piles we’ve created. Plus with tax time finally behind me for 2012, I vowed to be better organized for next year – and this time I mean it!

So to tackle the mess and start the organization process of my home and office, I decided to start with those dreaded piles of paper.

My spring cleaning/paper decluttering and organizing checklist:

  • First – set up a comfortable place to work (I chose the couch).
  • Second – get the gear in place to tackle the pile – shredder, page scanner, and bags to handle the paper after shredding.
  • Third – make a Strawberry Margarita (read: Recipe: Frozen Strawberry Margaritas Easy, Fresh and Delicious) and chase it with a super tanker of diet soda, turn on some fabulous music, open the door to let in the sun, and get busy!

The bins contain everything from bank statements to preapproved credit applications so the first thing I did was go through and toss out the envelopes, advertising, and anything else that wasn’t a necessity. Once the junk was gone, what was left was the important stuff – the statements, invoices, and receipts needed for tax records; plus the things we know we can access online but are too afraid to ditch, like bank account reconciliations.  Those I’m scanning and filing on my computer (backed up by Carbonite.com).

Steve reads up on the shredder before we get started.

Steve reads up on the shredder before we get started.

Next I sorted the resulting pile into two – shred or scan.  Our old shredder died several months ago so the pile of “shred” had grown into a mountainous heap of paper that was becoming unwieldy. The pure satisfaction of making the pile disappear into a garbage bag full of shredded paper made me giddy.  I’ll be reusing the shredded paper for packing delicate objects to avoid it going into the landfill.

We’ve had 3 different shredders over the years.  My husband is guilty of running them long after they’re full and jamming them with the shredded paper from the bin – he’s terrible on them! This new shredder, a Fellowes P-12C shredder, is already studier than any other shredder we’ve purchased in the past. I’ve only managed to jam it once when I put an unopened envelop stuffed with a pre-approved credit application into it. I reversed the motor and gently coaxed it out. Being more careful about the bulk kept it from happening again.

The Fellowes P-12C shredder has some safety features including a touch sensor to keep kids’ fingers out of the cutting assembly and the unit won’t operate if the bin is open. It has an auto start feature meaning that once the machine is in the “on” position, you simply put the paper in feeder and it’ll start the shredding process instantly.

The "scan" pile - 2-1/2 bins were shredded!

The “scan” pile – 2-1/2 bins were shredded!

The machine has a powerful motor and it is a bit loud, but since it will generally be used just a few times a day it’s not obnoxious. Granted when I shred for over an hour the sleeping family members complained, but when I showed them the progress I’d made on the piles of paper they asked what I’ll be tackling next!  That’s easy, the invoices for my business that are taking over my office.

I’m looking forward to taming the paper tiger in my home and I love that I can do it without compromising my personal information. Granted the Fellowes P-12C cross-cutting shred is not the smallest and thus not the safest shred – you can read some words and lines on the shredded paper. If you need a smaller shred, you’ll need to upgrade to a micro-cut or high security cut; but for most general household shredding, this cross-cut will do the job.

So that’s my spring cleaning and decluttering checklist! The new shredder will be placed in the kitchen beneath the island for easy access so we can shred the mail daily instead of letting it pile up.

So have you started a spring cleaning project yet?

Great safety features on the Fellowes Powershred PS-12Cs, 12 Sheet Cross-Cut SafeSense Shredder

Great safety features on the Fellowes Powershred PS-12Cs

Fellowes Powershred PS-12Cs, 12 Sheet Cross-Cut SafeSense Shredder (3271301) Details

Powershred PS-12Cs Cross-Cut Shredder from Fellowes

Powershred PS-12Cs Cross-Cut Shredder from Fellowes Details

The Fellowes Powershred P-12Cs Cross-Cut SafeSense Shredder is built to last with solid steel cutters, a powerful motor, and parts that are engineered to outperform our competitors. With its cross-cut capability, it is also tough enough to cut through credit cards, paper clips, staples, and CDs, while ensuring confidential documents are shredded into unreadable pieces. Additionally, the  P-12Cs Cross-Cut shredder features a simple pull-out bin for easy, mess-free waste disposal.