Downsizing Office Paper: A Simple How-To

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office paper

As my guest today, I’m happy to welcome back Moreen Torpy. I’m actually quite pleased to be today’s stop on her virtual book tour for her new book, Going Forward: Downsizing, Moving and Settling In.


If we don’t have to downsize our home or our stuff, where do we look for a downsizing challenge? Paper. Office paper. Files.

As organizers, we’re always on top of our clearing out—aren’t we? Well, I’m guessing that some of us aren’t quite on top of it. Or should I just admit I’m not there yet?

What really bothers me is my client files. Because of retention rules, we must keep them for six to seven years, and that takes a lot of space when space is at a premium. So this year, I’ve decided to digitize all my new files. Many of you probably thought of this ages ago, so I’m just catching up. Why didn’t I think of it sooner? It’s the logical place to downsize office paper. So it will take me six years to clear the backlog.

In the spirit of full disclosure—I’m an information junkie. Downsizing my collection of books is an emotional minefield for me. So I’ve stopped buying books. Almost. I have Kindle for PC so have started a business library there and don’t feel guilty about it. I haven’t collected many titles so I’m not using up my entire hard drive.

Then there are the files that puff up with importance whenever I decide to purge. They take on a life of their own, telling me that they’re important and must be kept, for posterity if nothing else. I’ve committed to downsizing seven file drawers to four and that’s a lot of work!

Again, as organizers, we counsel our clients to tear out pages from magazines and toss the magazines. Those tear sheets add up too. All those tips and tricks to help those same clients become organized and stay that way. Information on working with the ADHD client, the hoarder, etc. What if I can’t find what I want on-line when the time comes? Will the world end? No. But it does take quite a bit of self-talk to let it all go. And I’m working on that.

What happened to the paperless office, you ask. Well, it simply didn’t happen. I’ve killed more trees than I want to admit to. And I rationalize that by saying I have difficulty reading from my monitor. The print is too small, my eyes are dry, I can’t focus. I’ve found a solution to this too. I’ve learned how to zoom and increase the font size of most things, so I really don’t have to print everything any more. Maybe just a couple of things…

Going forward, it’s my sincere intention to at least decrease the amount of paper in my office before the fire marshal arrives to shut me down.

What’s your commitment?

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Moreen Torpy is the De-Clutter Coach, a practicing professional organizer. A Silver Leaf Member of the Professional Organizers in Canada, she is also a Trained Professional Organizer.

Moreen also holds several Certificates of Study from the National Study Group in Chronic Disorganization (now known as the Institute for Challenging Disorganization).

In addition, she holds a Certificate of Completion in Hoarding Level 1, Hoarding Level 2, and Clutter Coaching in a Hoarding Environment from Birchall Consulting & Associates Inc. (2011). Moreen continues studying in relevant fields.

Moreen has authored three books: Going Forward: Downsizing, Moving and Settling In, Let’s Get Organized: 172 Tiplets to Simplify Life and Christmas Workbook: how to plan and create a more meaningful Christmas.

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