By Linda Lindquist, Keeping Your Computer Healthy

As many of you know, I have been decluttering my home for the past two years. Although not yet done, I managed to create a presentable, decorated home for the Holiday Home Tours two years in a row.

My worst clutter challenge has been paper and too much incoming mail!! I set a goal in 2017 to go paperless. Here are a few things I have learned and implemented this year to move this goal forward. I share them to help if you suffer from paper clutter also.

TICKLER FILE: I set up a file folder for each month of the year and put papers for future events in their upcoming month. Documents within the folders of a tickler file can be to-do lists, pending bills, unpaid invoices, travel tickets, hotel reservations, meeting information, birthday reminders, coupons, claim tickets, call-back notes, follow-up reminders, maintenance reminders, or any other papers that require future action. I pull out the monthly folder and work through the papers during the month. It is recommended to set up folders for each day of the month also, but the monthly folders have worked best for me.

Result: No more lost or buried papers for upcoming projects!

EVERNOTE and SCANNABLE: Evernote https://evernote.com/ is a cloud-based software application that stores ‘notes’ and items securely. The notes are accessible from my iPhone, computer, Android tablet and kindle fire devices. Selected notes can even be shared with others: Roger and I share our custom-made grocery shopping checklist. Notes can be ‘tagged’ for easy retrieval. You can access free training from Evernote guru Charles Byrd here: https://www.facebook.com/evernoteguru/

I never learned how to file papers and manage the files. I had ‘constipated’ file drawers, then archeological digs of paper piles, or boxes of random papers. With the Scannable app https://evernote.com/products/scannable on my iPhone, I scan and store paid bills, receipts, and other documents that I want to save directly into Evernote, tagging them for easy retrieval. Then I shred the paper.

Result: Less physical paper to file.

STOP UNWANTED MAIL: Catalogs, credit card solicitations, charity mailings, and promo product mailings are all types of mail that you may not want. Here are tips to stop the influx:

  • To stop catalogs and junk mail: register your name (and all variants) at www.dmachoice.com or just call the catalog company and ask to be taken off their list (they are happy to save printing and mailing costs)
  • To eliminate credit card solicitations: register at www.optoutprescreen.com/
  • To reduce charity solicitation mailings, call and ask to receive just one mailing per year
  • If you receive unsolicited promo products, mark the unopened package ‘Return to Sender’ and mail back

My specialty is removing computer malware. I have come to regard unwanted e-mail, phone calls, and snail mail as a form of malware! The following tips have reduced the inflow:

UNSUBSCRIBE E-MAIL SENDERS: Your e-mail can quickly become cluttered with ‘salesy’ e-mails that you never intend to read, and have to delete. To reduce the amount of ‘salesy’ e-mails, click on the ‘unsubscribe’ link at the bottom of the email. Then mark the e-mail as ‘spam’ or ‘junk’ to send future e-mail from that sender to your spam folder, rather than your inbox.

UNROLL.ME: https://unroll.me/ This is a clever app to clean up your e-mail inbox. You securely give the app access to your e-mail, and then train it to manage the e-mails: trash, unsubscribe, put in one daily unroll.me digest, or keep in your inbox.

Result: You see the e-mails you really want to see in your inbox. Others are listed and accessible from one unroll.me digest.

UNWANTED ROBO CALLS: Nothing is more annoying than those robo- phone calls from scammers offering things you do not want. Here are some things you can do to stop and report them.

  • Using your Caller ID function, only answer calls from callers you recognize. If you do answer, just hang up!
  • Register with National Do Not Call Registry: www.donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register
  • Register with Florida Do Not Call List: www.fldnc.com
  • Install the Truecaller https://www.truecaller.com/ app on your phone to screen out scam phone calls and text messages.

After you register your phones, if robo-callers persist, tell them to stop calling, then register a complaint:

Have fun with your decluttering journey!