Killing The Paper Clutter Monster

scansnap.jpgI detest clutter.

I refuse to tolerate it any longer in my life.

This week my wife and I hauled off several small truckloads of clutter to Goodwill (and some to the dump). We're got more to haul away — but we've at least identified it all and we know what we're doing about the clutter conundrum.

Next on my clutter-blusting list: paper.

Man, do I have a lot of paper. And I have found the solution (I think). If you haven't read Ken Silver's post on the Paperless Office, go read it now.

In his article, Ken says:

Here's what I do each day to win the paper war:

When paper of any kind…a magazine article I clip, an invoice, notice or bill… gets to my desk, I run it through the ScanSnap which is permanently on.

The item shows up on Windows Explorer in the supplied Adobe Acrobat 6.0 program as an untitled PDF file. I name it immediately in a COMPANY NAME – DOCUMENT NAME – ITEM – DATE format and drag it to the appropriate folder.

I have only 2 folders for all my files, marked BUSINESS and PERSONAL. The Business folder has sub-folders, each labeled as a financial year… 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003 etc. There is one other sub folder which I've labeled PROJECTS.

Since my scanned files are shown in alphabetical order in Explorer – and that's the way I retrieve them too – there's no need to get any more complicated than that.

I ordered my Scansnap today and it should arrive tomorrow. I'll have more to say about this soon — but for now check out Ken's article. If you've had any experience with “going paperless”, let me know by posting your comments below.

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at

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  • Duke

    I just did my new year resolution with a vengeance to get back more time too. Usually, every year, I would start off with that same motivation to ‘unclutter’ my business and life. And if you are like me, usually I fall flat stress about the whole thing and end up just swipe things under the carpet per say. Well this year, a personal friend of mine recommended me to follow James Brausch, Freedom Business System. Its not like its anything new I told my friend but after going through the program, I think I own him a big favor 🙂

    • Ray Edwards

      I’m glad to hear you’re on track.

  • Cheryl Antier

    Hmmm…wonder if I can find a snapscan over here in France? It sounds good – especially because I’ve got piles and piles and piles of papers – things for my traveling writing business, things for my copywriting business, things for my ghostwriting business…not to mention the other papers that tend to pile up in life.

    And now I’m wondering if there aren’t any organizers out there who should be, will be – or are – specializing in helping people get their paperless offices going.

    I know in my case it’s looking at the piles of papers and thinking about the time involved in setting it up and going through it that will keep me from getting started.

    • Ray Edwards

      The Scansnap makes it easy. You literally just plug it in and start scanning.

  • Ray – Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve begun going paperless with bills. I’m getting more comfortable with it, but I have forgotten to pay a couple bills on time. I guess I’m used to having a paper reminder. Out of site, out of mind.

    Another service I’ve been interested in is EarthMail. But currently, it looks like they’re not accepting any new clients.

  • Making use of scan snap could really help you organize your documents. Less time would be consumed. There may be papers that are no longer important that you could already get rid of by shredding it to ensure that other people will not be able to read information that were written.

    • @shredding San Antonio Yep – you’re exactly right. I’ve also been using Evernote quite a bit of late and will probably write a post about how that works for me soon.