Paper, paper everywhere; bills, craft projects, receipts, magazines, flyers, coupons, important documents, business cards, greeting cards, notes and lists. My home is covered in paper and it seems to be a never ending cycle of getting rid of piles for new ones to form. Junk mail and bills are the biggest culprit. I tend to want to keep it all because “I might need it later.” I never end up needing it and it just piles up. Paper might not be the most exciting category but I guarantee its one of the most helpful in clearing clutter.
So if you’ve been following my tidying journey in previous posts (found here and here) then you know all about “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” by Marie Kondo I highly recommend picking it up if you haven’t already. It has already changed our lives in so many ways.
I started paper just as I started the previous two categories, by gathering everything into one place. Pulling all those little piles of paper together into one place was totally shocking. I knew I had papers everywhere but I really didn’t realize how many. I even went so far as to empty my files to make sure I didn’t have unnecessary documents hiding.
Once everything was together I got to work, one paper at a time. As recommended by Kondo I sorted into 3 piles, in use, need for a short time and need forever. Kondo prefers to toss all papers but understands some papers like leases, loan documents and medical records are important to save. I actually found that most of my documents fit in either the in use for need forever categories.
Being in today’s digital age I don’t save things like bank statements. I keep a spreadsheet on my computer to keep track of our bills. I even have my computer backed up offsite so if anything were to happen I could retrieve my documents. Its my preferred method and helps me keep clear of the clutter.
Once everything was sorted you can see I had a bunch of unnecessary papers cluttering up my home and my mind. I whipped out my shredder and got to work. Once all the unnecessary papers were in the recycling bin, I got to work putting away the stuff I was keeping.
For the in use papers I kept things like coupons, cards i need to send out, and my daughters school calendar (which I actually transferred to my phone calendar and then tossed). I took my in use papers and put them into my paper sorter on my shelf. I have gotten so tired of papers on my counters and things spilling on them so I decided no more papers on the counters! I added the small red folder to my paper sorter so I had a quick place to put receipts and documents for our 2017 taxes.
My need for a short time papers consisted of bills to be paid and a few documents for my sons school. Those papers I put in my paper sorter. This way I have quick access and can toss them when they have been dealt with.
The final pile of keep forever documents was made up of our documents for our homes, medical documents, my husbands military documents, pink slips and car loan documents, a couple warranty documents and my kids doctors check up papers and immunization records, socials and birth certificates.
Since I had emptied my file box it was easy to reorganize and file the keep forever documents. I gave each family member their own file, a separate file for our pets, a file for our homes and old files where i stored all our tax documents as well as a file for miscellaneous items. So all together 9 files.
It is amazing how much this whole process has been simplifying my life. I feel like my home is a lot cleaner and I don’t have that “ugh,” feeling when I walk through my home or have to try to find something I need. I know you moms know exactly what I’m talking about.
The next step is what Kondo calls Komono, which is miscellaneous items. I have gone ahead and broken this section down into smaller sections since I generally do my “tidying” during nap time. If you would like to see how I’ve broken this category down subscribe to the blog and you will receive a free download of the checklist I created. See you soon!