In the UK, April marks the start of the tax year. I know it’s weird – it has something to do with moving to the Gregorian calendar in 1582. But it means we turn our minds to all things financial, and that involves paper clutter.
Paper clutter is a huge problem for many, many people. We don’t know what we need to keep, we don’t have control over how it comes into our homes, and we’re concerned about the best ways to get rid of it. We’ve all heard of identity theft, but can people really steal our identity from our receipts?
So, during April, we’re going to declutter our paper. As you declutter each item, especially bills and statements, try to find a digital option. Most providers are more than happy to go paperless – and that beats the paper clutter problem.
30 items to declutter in April
- Any receipts over 6 months old.
- Junk mail
- Local newspapers
- Old magazines
- Old cards
- Bank statements over 2 years old (shred them)
- Any insurance certificates that have expired (shred them)
- Any pay slips, P45s etc that are over 3 years old (shred them)
- Water bills (shred)
- Gas and Electricity bills
- TV, phone and Internet bills
- Kid’s artwork (photograph it instead)
- Old letters (shred or photograph)
- Gift bags
- Half-used notebooks
- Passports and other essentials (don’t declutter if they are valid)
- Car maintenance documents that are out of date
- Warranties/instructions for household goods that are invalid or you can find online
- Takeaway menus
- Business cards
- Old school documents/reports etc.
- Old diaries and calendars
- Recipes and articles you’ve clipped but not used
- Old photographs
- Any other stationery
Most decluttering experts say you very rarely need to keep paper. You can get most things online these days, but if you’re self employed or planning to apply for a mortgage soon, you will need to have proof of your income and expenses, so do bear that in mind.