April 23, 2008

Decluttering Paper Maps

Last night I was doing some cleaning in one of my small bins, which was appropriately labeled "Maps". I setup this bin last year to store any maps that I found while I was cleaning the basement. I wanted a single source for all my maps, so that when I needed a map I would only have to look at one place.

When I went through the bin, I was amazed at how many duplicate maps that I had and how many of them were outdated. After going through what I had, I ended up throwing most of maps into the recycle bin.

I donít have any antique maps, most of the maps I have are from 2000-2003 and are street maps of California and New England. They arenít worth anything, I donít even think GoodWill will even take them; at least I am sure the maps would end up in the trash anyways.

I also discovered that I have a lot of maps from the American Automobile Association (AAA). These maps are free to AAA members. Thereís no value in keeping these maps since I can visit AAA and get a new one when I need it. Even if thereís no new roads on the map, newer maps are easier to read and can have more useful information.

Folded maps were useful in the past, however today there are some really better-quality electronic alternatives to paper maps. On the Internet, Google Maps, and MapQuest are a good clutter free alternative to maps. They can provide helpful information about locations and even the ability to search for businesses around the location. TomTom is a great solution while driving, itís easy to use and can be updated for free.

Take a look at the maps you have in your home. Do you really use them that much? When was the last time you looked at them?

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