Decluttering: Your Guide to a Paper Free House

You are enslaved by paper.  It covers your walls, gets piled in giant stacks, and fills up drawers. Paper is the true enemy of Minimalism, and every letter, page, and scrap needs to go.  I will show you how.

If you had any doubt that this sinister material has spread its icy claws into the very core of your soul consider this: nearly everyday you go out of your way to visit a special metal box designed to hold, you guessed it, paper.  The mailbox is a harbinger of materialism, and it must be eliminated.

It may seem daunting, but I can help free you from the bondage of paper.  The good news?  It burns very well.

Step 1: Start at the Source

The first step in curing your paper problem is to stop it at the source: the mailbox.  Everyday more paper arrives from the nether: advertisements, special offers, and bills.  Lots of bills.  The only way to truly stem the tide is to cut it off, with an axe.

To stop the mail you must chop down your mailbox.  I recommend an axe, but you can use whatever you have lying around: a chainsaw, a sledgehammer, or even a baseball bat.  If you share a mailbox, or are concerned about breaking federal law, you might have to get creative.  Try filling it with cement, or simply changing the numbers on the side.  There are a million possibilities, and I’m excited to see what my readers come up with.

Reader Feedback: Share your creative method of stopping the mail.

Step 2: Letters, Bills, Children’s Artwork

With the mailbox out of commission the deluge of paper should abate, but you still need to deal with what is left.  Drawers full of letters, tax records, magazines, children’s artwork, and old family photos: it all needs to go.  

There really is no need to keep that stuff around.  You can access your bills online, tax documents too.  Old family photos that nobody cares about can be transferred to the computer through a speedy process known as “shredding.”

Sentimental stuff can be burned of course.  Everyone overestimates their attachment to artwork, but it’s not like your kid is a virtuoso artist.  If you can’t sell it, throw it in the fire.  You will be surprised at how happy you feel to see a stack of ugly, uncoordinated, and off-color finger paintings go up in flames.

Reader Tip: Put one of you kid’s “masterpieces” up on ebay, and see how much you get.  Hint: it rhymes with “Hero Scholars”.  

Step 3: Books

Books are Trojan horses.  They sneak into your house under the pretext of knowledge, but when your guard comes down the hidden soldiers of clutter escape.  Even a True Minimalist™  can be suckered into buying one, unaware that they will take up space forever.

To truly declutter you’ve got to get rid of your books.  All of them.  You could donate them to a local library, but they probably don’t want your shelf of sticky werewolf erotica.  In this case, you need to burn them.  Fire is the only true way to cleanse your house and soul.

Bookshelves, the monuments to your past oppression, also need to go.  They will continue to take up space, and their empty shelves will accumulate junk left by weak willed people looking for an easy place to drop something off.  I recommend the chop method of disposal.

Step 4: The Walls

Scour your walls and take down anything resembling paper.  Posters, calendars, artwork, canvas, rip it all down and throw it into a pile.  It goes without saying that this pile is destined for the fire pit.  

Ideally you would carry out your righteous crusade while any partners or roommates are away to avoid weak willed attachments, but this isn’t always possible.  If your partner has objections to your zealous decluttering, listen to what they have to say.  Put any posters or artwork they have a sentimental attachment too in a box for safekeeping.  

Minimalism is one of the most important things in life, but we need to be patient with loved ones who don’t yet understand The Truth.  The best way to handle their concerns is with feigned sincerity.  Wait a few days until they have forgotten about the box of sentimental junk, then burn it.

Step 5: Everything Else

Most of your paper should now be gone.  We are now left with a few documents and papers you hoped I wouldn’t notice.  Your passport, birth certificate, private journal, and an old photograph of your parents when they were younger.  

I’m going to make a deal with you.  You can keep the passport and the birth certificate, but the rest need to go.  Copy the journal into any one of the million online journal services, and take digital a picture of the photo.  Done, burn em.  If you don’t already have a passport forget about it, it’s just more paper tying you down.


Congratulations, your house is paper free.  Your walls are beautifully bare, as God intended.  Your drawers hold only dust, and those old journals from high school have been put out of their misery.

The benefits to living without paper are endless: no more long walks to the mailbox, no more bills, and absolute certainty of where to put every new piece of art your kid brings home: the trash.

You should celebrate this important milestone, just just make sure to burn the confetti, streamers, and party hats when you’re done.

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