It is difficult to let go of paper data because we are not sure of its value in the future and the desire to have a tangible format. When purging paper, start with small chunks, such as one file drawer or one desktop pile to go through. It doesn’t need to be all done in one day or at one time. For most documents, users will be able to ascertain what to keep and what can be recycled. It is reasonable to keep some mementos of past history but keep it down to a small file folder size.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help deem what to keep in paper or purge;
- Is there any action required?
If not, you can probably get rid of it.
- Is it already saved electronically?
If so, then you recycle the paper.
- Will the organization ever need, want or find value in this information again?
If yes, then consider scanning the information to store it electronically.
- Is the information outdated and/or superseded?
If yes, then recycle it!
- Is the information located on the organization Intranet network?
If quick reference to the document is not needed, then recycle the paper and access the data electronically.
- Does the document or file have legal (current or future) implications?
If so make sure there is an electronic copy or it is scanned in.
- Is there any legal retention requirement to keep the data?
Documents if saved in an electronic PDF format are sufficient for any legal requirements.
For more information on how you can become paperless in your office, read the article, Becoming Paperless for Effectiveness and Efficiency. Contact us if you would like assistance in organizing your office or computer.