Learning how to clean house and go paperless has never been easier. In the digital age, there’s no longer a need for cumbersome filing cabinets, messy desks, and mountainous stacks of paper.

But if you’re currently buried under piles of paper clutter, cleaning house can be frustrating and it can be overwhelming to know how to dig yourself out.

Not only do you have to clear the clutter you already have; you must implement systems to keep those paper stacks from coming back.

Luckily, it’s possible to completely clean house with nothing but a scanner, your smartphone, and a recycle bin.

Step One: Scan What You Need to Save

Nearly every document you need to save can be scanned and stored in its digital version. The IRS accepts digital receipts with your tax documents, and nearly every type of digital document is now accepted as legally binding, as long as it’s legible.

This means that you can scan nearly every scrap of paper in sight, freeing up precious space in your home or office and creating a more organized, harmonious environment.


If you have large amounts of paper to scan, you may want to use a service like Shoeboxed to scan everything for you.

Shoeboxed will provide you with “magic envelopes” for all your clutter. All you have to do is drop your papers into the envelope, drop the envelope in the mail, then sit back and relax as the Shoeboxed team scans and digitizes all of your documents to a secure cloud-based account.

Step Two: Recycle the Remains

Once you’ve figured out how to clean house with your scanner or a document scanning service, it’s time to truly clear the clutter!

Recycle all of the documents that have been successfully scanned, making sure you have high-quality digital versions saved on your hard drive and in the Cloud.

Recycle Symbol

Keep in mind that you may want to shred sensitive financial documents before recycling them.

Step Three: Create a New System

There’s no point in cleaning house and going paperless if the clutter simply creeps back in over time.

In order to maintain a workspace that’s consistently free and clear, it’s crucial to look at how you got into this (paper) mess in the first place.

Once you’re able to identify where the majority of the clutter is coming from, you can tackle it head on and prevent it from returning.

For instance, if you seem to collect a large number of receipts, put rules in place for digitization as soon as someone hands you one.

Instead of stuffing the receipt in your purse or wallet, tossing it in your car, and dragging it back into your home or office, use a receipt scanning app on your smartphone in the same way you used a scanner in Step One.


Besides scanning your documents for you, Shoeboxed also has an app that lets you snap a photo of a receipt with your smartphone and automatically beam the information to your account. This means you can toss the receipt before you’ve even left the store, preventing paper clutter from returning.

If you’ve been wondering how to clean house, remember to scan and digitize what needs to be saved, recycle the hard copies, and maintain your clutter-free space by implementing easy-to-follow, clutter-free systems.

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