I am so proud of me that I am fairly bursting! Yes, I did it! I tamed the paper monster AND banished him from my home 5 YEARS ago!!!! For all those [who like me] are rolling their eyes and thinking “sure … she probably had a dozen papers on a counter somewhere and really thinks she did something!”. Well, let me tell you sisters …….. I will match my previous clutter piles to anyone out there! I had it in drawers, in piles on the floors of every room and every flat surface …. I even had PILES of bags of paper from when I had tried to get a handle on it and just hid it behind something when I got frustrated. This was not junk mail either. It was bills, correspondence, stuff I was thinking about doing/buying/reading … notes with names, websites, what have you . [Notice I didn’t say it wasn’t JUNK, I just said it wasn’t junk MAIL. I did at least manage to get rid of that for the most part.] I was always the one who, if I needed one photocopy, five were better. That way I could always find it SOMEWHERE. [Like THAT ever worked!!!] And did I mention I’ve been a paper magnet for 35 YEARS???? I swore when I turned the lights out, it multiplied like rabbits!
But no more! And I finally have something to write about after years of on and off flying! None of that tho … I want to tell you about what I DID manage to do! It took me a few months — I just had THAT much! But once it was gone — it was gone! And I’ve never gone back again!
When I finally got sick and tired of it all, I brought home from work an empty photocopy paper box. They’re the right size for letter size files. At work, I learned to love the expandable manila file folders — instead of the standard ones that open like a book and allow papers to sneak out. I knew I wanted to save warranties, instruction booklets for appliances & important personal docs like social security cards & birth certificates. Those are the only file folders I labeled at the start. After that I labeled folders as I found other categories I wanted to keep. NOTE: Don’t get carried away here! If you have 9,000 lbs of paper — strive to keep 9.
Then I just grabbed the closest pile and went to work. I asked myself if I really needed to keep it. Could I find it online or elsewhere IF I ever needed it again? How long have I had this and have I EVER needed it? Do I even still OWN whatever this paper pertains to. [Amazing how many NOs you’ll discover] Everybody wants to keep financial stuff, me too. But think about this people. If you’ve reconciled your bank statement [or have accepted its validity at face value], unless you need it for tax purposes or may return some expensive item — get rid of it! Same with credit card statements! NOBODY needs 5 years of bank statements and VISA bills.
As I worked thru the pile or bag, I decided whether to keep or fling. I had two bags — shred and toss. And I filed every paper I decided to keep in an appropriate file folder. NO having to go back thru it all again. I worked on the closest to me, then whatever was in the line of sight, and then all the drawers one at a time, and then finally I dug out the hidden bags. That year my village posted a hurrah notice that we had increased our recycleable tonnage by 8% ! I was too embarrassed to call to say “your welcome!”
Anyway, that’s how I did it. I ended with one and one half file boxes. I keep up with my filing now and every couple years I go thru the old stuff to be sure I still need it. Paper gets obsolete too! lol
I sincerely hope something I’ve said here gives someone else the courage to blast that paper monster right outta their home! It’s the best thing I’ve ever done!