Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Review: The Paper Solution by Lisa Woodruff

The Paper Solution: What to Shred, What to Save, and How to Stop It From Taking Over Your Life by Lisa Woodruff
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Genre: Self-Help/Home and Organization
ISBN: 9780593187760
Release Date: August 4, 2020
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

From the "Marie Kondo of paper" comes a simple and accessible guide to paper management.
Americans are drowning in paper. We keep stacks of it on the kitchen counter, stash it in drawers, and store file cabinets full of documents that we never even look at. Studies show that fully 85 percent of the paper in our lives can be tossed--but which 85 percent? And how do we organize and manage the 15 percent that remains?

With The Paper Solution, founder of Organize365 Lisa Woodruff delivers a proven, step-by-step guide for what to shred, what to save, and how to sort what's left behind. With her method, you'll learn:

• What documents you must absolutely hold on to
• Which papers you can dispose of today
• How to ditch your bulky filing cabinets and make your vital documents accessible and portable

And at the heart of it all is the Sunday Basket: a box that sits on your counter and corrals those stray bills, forms, coupons, and scraps into an easy-to-use paper-management system. The Sunday Basket will become your new weekly habit--one that leads to less paper, less stress, and more time to spend on the things (and people) that matter most.

I’m an organization junkie and – try as I might to go paperless – I still seem to end up with more stacks of paper than I would like, so I was eager to dive into The Paper Solution. While I feel there’s value in the advice author Lisa Woodruff gives and there is definitely no bad advice in this book, my feelings when I finished this were a bit mixed.

The biggest issue I had with The Paper Solution is that – to me – a lot of the statistics and information seem dated already (pulling stats from eight years ago doesn’t prove a point to me when technology has changed significantly since then). Yes, paper has an insidious way of piling up…except for that one sneaky form you happen to need at the time that goes missing. But there are a lot of items (bills, for example) which have digital download and reminder options. There’s a big emphasis on a “Sunday basket” and using various color-coded slash pockets to ensure you don’t lose things and remember to go through them. There’s also an emphasis on binders (household warranties and manuals, medical binders, etc.) That’s helpful advice, but again, feels dated when so much of this can be done digitally.

The Paper Solution feels like more of a useful guide to people who either want or are forced to keep a lot of paper rather than digitize and eliminate. Or perhaps it is for people whose lives are more chaotic than mine. I think people who find themselves overwhelmed and/or have larger households than I do might find this book more helpful. The organization tips seem useful to managing overwhelming situations, such as settling an estate. The tips and tricks are solid, so even though some things felt dated to me and I didn’t personally find the book useful, I recommend it for people whose paper piles are impacting their lives.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.