Your Tidying Checklist: Organizing Papers
“My basic principle for sorting papers is to throw them all away.” Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
But could you? In the KonMari Method™, organizing papers starts with the initial approach of gathering all papers in your home. Simple, right?
As you look at the piles of papers that you have collected, filed, or stacked in the corners of your home, think of how much time you have spent moving papers around in your lifetime. Better yet, think of all the time you've spent searching for important papers you have misplaced, like bills or financial documents. Let's take it a step further. If you think about your current and future lifestyle, do you wish to spend time on your papers? The answers is likely a no.
Yes, papers can be overwhelming. But, the best method is to categorize your documents into these three categories:
1. Papers that need your attention
2. Papers that you need in the short-term
3. Papers you need to keep forever
Through this exercise, you can determine exactly what can go and what can stay. Of course, exceptions will arise. Some examples include legal documents you will need to keep forever and your tax paperwork. Many pieces of papers are likely short-term and need to to be taken care of within 30 days. These are the exceptions that you can give yourself, but you will find that almost everything else lives digitally elsewhere (i.e. bills or bank statements) or can be taken care of the minute they arrive.
So let's get to it. Follow my checklist recipe for organizing the flow of papers in your home.
One of my favorite tidying lessons in the paper category is to get my clients to open their mail from the mailbox on the spot and make decisions about it right then and there. This prevents mail pile up on your counter or desk! By taking care of your papers the moment you encounter them, you can prevent a stack of never-ending paper clutter in your home.
Now, think about all the places where papers can live in your home. When gathering, don't forget to check your car, backpack and/or purse and the front of the fridge too! Here's another handy checklist where you are likely to find loose papers.
It is important to find your rhythm in your tidying process. Find the practices that resonate best with your lifestyle and adopt them into your daily life. Using the three categories of paper organization mentioned above, tidying paper will soon be a breeze.