Got clutter? A disorganized room isn’t just hard to navigate — it precipitates feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. There’s no clarity — no focal point, no order. It’s time to get organized and stay organized.
Don’t know where to start? Let’s begin together with two simple tasks — discarding and filing your papers.
Seems basic, right? Or maybe the very thought is daunting. Don’t worry. And don’t overthink. If you want to get organized, you’ve got to reign in those defeating thoughts.
I picked paperwork first, because there’s more involved here than just keeping things orderly and pleasing to the eye.
Though most of your bank and credit card statements are available online, plenty of sensitive personal documents still arrive by snail mail. 🐌
And, there’s a lot at stake when it comes to protecting your privacy.
Therefore, although I could have started in the kitchen (throwing out that old salt and pepper shaker you never use) the office holds the heart of the clutter matter. Once you’ve tamed the papers, other things are easier.
GET ORGANIZED AND STAY ORGANIZED — TO KEEP OR NOT TO KEEP?
Your answer depends on whether the paper falls within these categories:
- Essential Value (taxes, wills, contracts) or
- Sentimental Value (it warms your heart but doesn’t prove your citizenship or ownership).
Papers of Essential Value
These documents confirm that you are you, and that what you own is yours.
Wills, tax returns, contracts, titles, insurance policies, bills for large purchases. These are essential.
Not only must you keep these, you must be able to find and produce them if needed. Important documents are no good if you can’t find them. Therefore organizing isn’t only for aesthetics — it’s essential to your protection and financial security.
I’m not an accountant or a lawyer, so I can’t tell you which papers are essential, or how many years of tax documentation you should keep.
Therefore, here’s a link to help you decide which papers may be needed if you are ever audited, or need to prove property ownership.
Click here: How Long Should You Keep Important Documents?
Check with your accountant too, if you have further questions.
Papers of Sentimental Value
Here’s a question to consider whilst sifting through paper memories:
Did I even remember that I had this … card, letter, photo?
If you aren’t missing it now, chances are you won’t miss it later. Time to throw it in the discard pile.
Personally, I’m pretty diligent when minimizing clutter, and I lean towards the “get rid of it” side.
It’s easy for me. Exhilarating, even! This might not be you though, so I get it. Sometimes it’s hard.
Try not to agonize over stuff. Keep the letter if it brings you joy, or if it reminds you of someone special. Just recognize that one card from your dear friend ten years ago will suffice, in lieu of five cards. That sort of thing.
GET ORGANIZED AND STAY ORGANIZED — THE PROCESS
When managing these piles of papers, try using the floor as your canvas.
Keep stacks organized by slapping a Post-It note on the top page, and label the category.
As for those less fortunate sheets of loose leaf, start filling a big garbage bag (but stay tuned because this won’t be their final resting place).
YOU’RE KEEPING IT?
Then choose a filing system that’s easy and gorgeous! I’m excited to share, because this is exactly what I chose and it works beautifully.
To start, you’ll need some affordable manila files, letter-sized. The link here takes you to a box of one hundred, but two hundred count is also available.
Grab your felt pen and labeling is easy peasy.
Fashion and Function
Instead of a cold utilitarian filing cabinet, choose something that’s easier to move, surprisingly sturdy, and pleases your sense of sight.
File boxes don’t have to be ugly cardboard! I chose these durable linen-covered ones, and I couldn’t be happier.
In fact, I’ve started adding more grey to our bedroom to compliment this neutral tone.Three boxes stacked next to my desk, work perfectly. Click on the picture to take a peek, and order if you like.
YOU’RE NOT KEEPING IT?
This part is just as much fun! Because, it’s shredding time! 🤪
And why shouldn’t you just dump those huge garbage bags in the recycling bin?
Because your identity will be compromised. The personal information included in credit card statements, bank statements and loan documents provides all that an identity thief needs. Don’t put that out there. Either safeguard it in your home or dispose of it with a …
This has become a fun, sort of “cleansing” mini-ritual for the hubby and me.
I never thought I needed a shredder, but it sure beats hand-tearing thousands of papers. We use it several times a week for disposing of junk mail too.
Simple to use, effective and reliable, here’s the shredder I’ve come to love since 2016. Click the pic if you want to check it out on Amazon. That’s where we ordered ours, and it works great.
GET ORGANIZED AND STAY ORGANIZED — GO PAPERLESS!
As much as technology has its down side, the paperless option for so many transactions is quite a blessing. It only takes a few moments to go online and fill in the required fields, and no more shredding needed!
Credit card statements, bank statements, insurance … all these and more offer paperless correspondence. Just be sure to keep your passwords for online transactions stashed somewhere safe. 🤫
THE ORGANIZED MINIMALIST
The practice of minimalism goes hand in hand with living an organized life.
What is minimalism? It’s all about simplifying your life by removing things and activities that distract you from focusing on what really matters.
So what really matters to you? And what do you really need? It’s time for some soul searching.
The Lies of Multitasking
One thing is certain. Multitasking fragments your focus — whether it’s sensory overload, too much activity going on around you, eating too much, being plugged in for too long, or hearing but not listening.
You weren’t created to handle so many things at once.
So what can you let go of?
How can you move towards intentional living?
NOW YOU’RE EQUIPPED TO GET ORGANIZED AND STAY ORGANIZED
Wherever you decide to go from here, organizing your stuff is a great start. It’s a tangible way of filtering what’s important to you — physically, relationally, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Those piles of shredded paper just might highlight some commitments, relationships, or routines that need to fall by the wayside.
Do you have any ideas or stories about organizing and minimizing that worked for you? I’d love to hear! Please share your questions and comments below. — Blessings, Ali 😊
Thanks for the reminder, Ali. I have been neglecting my shredder for too long!
Right?! Boy, doesn’t it feel good to get rid of old paperwork? And shredding is the way to go, for personal security reasons.👍