Technology is quickly transforming the world we know. It amazes me (still) that something as small as a cell phone can function in so many ways. With digital/electronic versions of nearly everything that has ever been printed or ever could be printed, so many things in paper form have been rendered obsolete.
Think of all the space! Think of all the piles you could make vanish, simply by using your cell phone (or tablet) instead. It takes a small time commitment to make the switch on some of the things in this list, but most of them are simple conversions that can be done while you Netflix.
- Address Book
The whole concept of an address book has always felt a little “before my time,” and now it couldn’t be more unnecessary. There is an entire file within your Phone Contacts for each new person you add. You can list everything about them: their address, email, additional notes, birthday, work information, etc. With a simple back-up system in place, such as syncing everything to your Gmail account, you will never lose this information.
- Phone Books
I’m pretty sure physical copies of these only exist for people over the age of 80. Literally anything you need to find in a phone book can be found by doing a google search. They even have the white and yellow pages online. Just be sure you recycle those clunky bricks.
Everyone hates the pile of mail that moves from place to place and never seems to disappear. You can quickly and easily take control of this incoming clutter by opting for electronic statements for all of your billing. Not only does it save a significant amount of paper, but it’s one less thing to sort through on a monthly basis. While you’re at it, take a moment to unsubscribe from all those pesky coupon packets, store flyers, and catalogs that you have no interest in. Some require calling the phone number and asking to be removed from the mailing list, but it’s worth the effort.
- New Recipes / Favorite Recipes
You may have a number of places you store recipes. Old favorites hand written on index cards in a box, magazine clippings in a folder, and a massive Pinterest collection. Let me make it simpler for you. ChefTap is the easiest way to store and organize all your recipes. You can type them manually or import them with one click from any URL. Edit them and personalize them all you’d like, as well as categorize, favorite, and create lists. I also use Pinterest for recipes I want to try. Any recipes from a magazine or an older cookbook can be found online and Pinned or added to ChefTap. I don’t recommend keeping an entire shelf of cookbooks for the one or two recipes you reference or have yet to try. Simply add them to one of the aforementioned electronic lists and donate the book—the only exceptions I make are for cookbooks that appeal to me aesthetically (lots of pretty pictures and design, which make it great for display).
I am a list maker. Making lists plays a big role in me being my most productive self. Some of these lists are on actual physical paper, but lately I have converted most of them to the Inkpad App on my phone. I can create multiple lists within this app, or make notes. I can also add check boxes to each item and cross them out as I complete them. I use Inkpad for grocery lists, to-do lists, a list of babysitters, Christmas lists…I could go on. They are all nicely bundled in the same place and take up absolutely no space in my life, and waste no paper. And I still get the satisfaction of crossing something off.
- Frequent Shopper Reward Cards
All of those reward cards are great. But they create a ridiculous amount of bulk in your wallet or on your keychain. Believe it or not, anything with a barcode can be transferred to an app such as Key Ring. The app allows you to photograph the card and adds the barcode and all relevant numbers. I store things like my library card, Godiva rewards card, even petty gift cards with balances under a dollar…I hate to throw those away, but I hate to keep them— now I can do both!
Some of you probably shutter at the mention of paring down your book collection, but hear me out. So many books are available (even free) on things like Kindle or Google Books. I am all for keeping some books in hard copy form, but if your books are taking up more space than they should, consider owning the less important ones digitally, if the occasion ever calls for a re-read. If you really struggle with whittling down your bookshelves, Marie Kondo offers the most helpful advice I’ve ever read on that topic, in her book. Magazines subscriptions are also now available on your phone or tablet and are less expensive than a hard copy anyway. You can archive issue after issue without taking up any physical space. Don’t forget to recycle all those bound pages you purge!
CD’s…sadly they are becoming a thing of the past. I say sadly only because that makes me old. If you still have stacks of these laying around, please, copy them to your computer, then upload them to a cloud storage (Amazon offers one) and then you can access them on any device. If your car has a CD player and you don’t want the distraction of navigating playlists while you’re driving then pick 5 favorites to circulate through and ditch the rest.
I think everyone knows about calendar apps, but if you use them to their full potential they can eliminate a lot of other clutter too. Need the doctor’s office business card so you know where you are heading? When you add an event to your calendar you can also add the address and it will conveniently pull up directions with Google Maps when you are ready to go.
If you keep a home calendar for the purpose of aligning the whole family’s schedules, there is a simpler method: TimeTree. Another app that allows multiple people to create and link calendars, so you can both see the events being added. It even generates reminders for everyone automatically.
This one might seem silly, but it’s just one more thing in the junk drawer that you don’t need! The calculator app automatically comes with your phone and even has a scientific calculator option. My guess is your phone is usually more within reach than an actual calculator anyway. P.S. I even have a ruler app, for visualizing small measurements.
What are you waiting for? Make those piles disappear!