Is The Paper Tiger Driving You Nuts? How To Clean Up ALL THAT PAPER JUNK in Your Home and Have a Paper-Free Open House

Published March 11, 2012 by Candy Evans

I have to go to two open houses, but this really great article from HOUZZ (the best home interiors blog, I think) just crossed my desk and I MUST share. First of all, I have been fighting paper mess for years. YEARS! From the business receipts you must retain to all the paper crap that comes in the mail, I sometimes need a Zanax just to deal with it. The amount of paper mail I get is ridiculous! Many years ago I had a mini-revolution and recycled EVERYTHING, I mean EVERYTHING, then got into trouble when I needed the bill and check stubs. Slowly but surely I have been going electronic with bills and banking and love it.

I’m streamlining down to three or four banks instead of seven — ones with best service and no fees win my accounts. Magazines: if they are not digital, I don’t want them. All that paper wastes trees and creates icky chemical residue! (I was indoctrinated by my late father-in-law, an engineer with International Paper Company, who had us recycling in the ’80s. Oh the stories he told us…) I have opted out of most catalogues, subscribe to one or two magazines. I asked to pay for the Dallas Morning News online only, but they insisted I get both to, I suppose, keep their paper circ numbers up. Whatever: we have a parrot and need the paper to line her cage. (PaperCity is the best parrot cage liner, after I read it, of course.) Those of you who have seen my office know it is not a pretty site, but I constantly work to improve. My problem is the many agents who continue to send reams of paper and waste money advertising in print. I also am bad about printing off invitations to hand carry to events, always on recycled paper of course (warning: print anything in my printer, it’s on recycled paper — drives my lawyer-daughter nuts). I am seeking a system where I can “park” electronic invitations and send them to my ipad and iphone, then pull them up away from the maddening crowd of emails. Anyhoo, love these tips and had to share. I have recycled the mail in our garage for years — that’s where we keep the paper recycling bin. It goes right from the mailbox to the recycle bin, including envelopes of important bills and invitations. Only the wanted stuff goes inside. Sometimes I have to do this on my kitchen counter. In fact, I think kitchens ought to come with “mail centers”.

What I learned today is that I can go to  Catalog Choice and MailStop and opt out of receiving certain catalogs. MailStop is under the Catalog Choice umbrella. It comprises three add-on services that range from a free cell phone app to a $20 yearly service fee. Whatever: just stop the madness.

Other tips, some from HOUZZ:

Say no to paper: If you must have a receipt, request the data in email form. Take advantage when a store offers to email you the receipt. I do this all the time: next time you find yourself waiting at the doctor’s office, car wash or DMV, empty your purse or wallet. I will add that people who keep their cars neat tell me they clean them out, too, on a weekly basis.

Oh! Great iphone app for those pesky receipts: Expensify.

Stop printing stuff –easier said than done, but I am taking baby steps. Figure out how to process and file email, and when you learn, give me a holler. Unsubscribe from unwanted newsletters and emails. Make your email system do the work for you by creating tags and filters so that you spend less time sorting the incoming mail. (And then when you have three computers, you do this on al of them!) Your digital files should closely mirror your paper files. That’s nirvana, baby. My goal is to whittle down those four file cabinets to one… or none!

This should help you keep the paper tiger ar bay for open houses and showings, or whenever you want your home to look perfect.

What are some other tips you have for dealing with the paper mess and going paperless?



— Daily Local Real Estate Dish By Dallas Real Estate Insider — Candy Evans at