Paper clutter comes in three different types: Trash, Bills and Keep.
Because of our uncertainty we have kept everything. As a result of this fear our homes have become a holding place for this paper clutter. It invades every flat surface of your home. It lurks in the desk drawers and it is cowering in your closet in trash bags that you are afraid to throw away because you can’t remember what is in them.
We are the queens of stash and dash. These hurried up chaotic last minute episodes of cleaning have left our finances and sanity in question. Oh and you know the question, “Where did I put the birth certificates, car title, phone bill or instruction manual?” We have said it many times, “I know it is here somewhere!” We even know we have put it in a safe place. Oh how I can relate to that one. There is still a car title hiding somewhere in our home.
Oh where to start! This confounds us all but I am here to make this very simple for you. As you begin conquering this battle that you have with paper clutter you are going to have to quit being afraid of this monster. If you have to use some paper clutter monster spray to help give you the courage to stand up to this pest once and for all time! We can do this. We are holding your hand.
The reason you can’t find anything is because every regular place that you have for keeping up with your papers is filled with trash. You know those places: Filing cabinets, desk drawers, the bottom of our closet, kitchen cabinets, old purses and the trunks of your car. We are going to tackle this paper clutter in babysteps. This means you are going to set a timer while you sort through things.
1. A timer
2. An Office in a Bag or something similar to keep “To Pay” bills in
3. A trash can
4. File folders and
5. An accordion 8.5 X 11 folder for Warranty booklets
6. A Milk crate or bankers box or even just a box will work fine
7. Letter Opener
8. A Manila enveloped 8.5 X 11 labeled 2012 TAX INFO
We all have this stuff lying around our homes because we love Office Supply stores! Acquiring these office supplies is just like our self-help books. We get them and never use them. We are going to start now!
We have ignored this paper clutter far too long and we are suffering because of it. We have allowed it to eat away at the peace in our homes.
We are going to start with your most favorite dumping ground when you walk through your door. You know the hotspot! It is about to burst into a raging inferno right now because you just remember that the electric bill was due this past Friday.
Our goal here is to handle each piece of paper one time in this sorting process. In order to do this we need a place for each of them.
1. Your “OFFICE IN A BAG” is where you are going to put your “To Pay” Bills. NOT THE RECEIPTS OR PAID BILLS THAT YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH! Also keep your last year 2011 Tax Info Envelop there.
2. ACCORDION FOLDER is for your warranty/instruction manuals.
3. TRASH CAN is for junk mail/recycleable paper. Don’t get caught up in sorting it into the proper RECYCLE containers. For now trash is trash. IF YOU DON’T NEED IT; IT IS TRASH. You can get the kids to sort it. You can have a bonfire later or shred it.
4. BANKER’S BOX is for your filing system. This is going to be very simple. Don’t get caught up in making the perfect filing system because this is what has you being strangled by the paper monster. We will make five files.
A. 2017 receipts for your house hold
B. 2016 receipts for your house hold
C. Older receipts for your house hold 2015 and before; anything older than 2015 can probably be thrown away unless it is a Family Document.
D. Family documents: birth cert, death cert, titles, insurance policies, deeds, savings account booklets, stocks, bonds, marriage cert etc. Think of these things as they would be hard to get new ones.
E. If you have a business you will need a box just for those receipts as they are tax deductible and need to be kept separate from your house hold receipts. Don’t worry about filing these right now. You haven’t done it in a while and it can wait. Just put them in the box.
With your tools by your side put on some of your favorite music and set your timer for 15 minutes. This is all we are going to do at a time. You can’t allow this monster to devour what peace you have already established in your home. If you obsess over this your home will fall back into CHAOS! After all it has been this way for a very long time and you are not going to put any order to it in a day. We are going to pace ourselves so this monster will not ever devour your home again.
1. Pick up a piece of paper.
2. Open the envelope.
3. Decide where it goes; Most of it is going to be TRASH
4. REPEAT! ONE PIECE AFTER ANOTHER!
5. Till the timer goes off!
7. Then you can get rid of the trash/recycling.
SEE HOW EASY THAT IS! NO WHINING AND NO PUTTING IN ANOTHER PILE TO BE LOOKED AT LATER! THIS IS WHY YOU HAVE PAPER CLUTTER.
From this moment on when you come in the door with the mail you are going to process it just like this. Letter opener in hand and your Office in a Bag ready to hold your bills and your trash can anxious to devour this paper clutter monster before he grows out of control. When you hear yourself say, “I can do that later”; set your timer for 2 minutes and “Do it now, Don’t wait! Get things done and Don’t Procrastinate.
Are you ready to FLY without the paper clutter monster dragging you down.