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This weekend my husband and I went on a great big purging spree. We tackled most of the downstairs and got rid of a lot of stuff.
I really began to question why we were holding onto some of those things. For instance, we had a sandwich bag full of keys – I’m guessing about 30 in all – with no idea what they unlocked.
I remember looking at them during a different cleaning spree and wondering if I should just toss them.
Today we finally did.
One of the big issues that I have is to do with papers.
I had at least two milk crates full of papers that belonged to my dad. I was very reluctant to throw them out, but really, why was I keeping them?
And to be honest, if you look around my house, even now, there are too many papers.
Now I know the rules about paperwork; I’ve even suggested them to you, more than once.
You know, only handle it once, get rid of obvious junk right away, note invitations in your planner and throw the invite away.
But I’ve gotta tell you… it’s not working for me.
I have a file cabinet that is full to overflowing with (probably) a lot of papers I don’t need.
Do I need the paperwork on the car we sold 5 years ago?
I don’t think so.
And if that file cabinet were cleared out, some of the papers currently trashing my house could go in there.
I could, for instance, remove the papers belonging to our (now sadly deceased) former dog and cat and replace them with our current dog’s papers.
But what about the notes I take for running An ADD Woman more effectively?
And what about other people’s papers?
Right now those are in separate folders labeled with their names. But guess who is putting them in there? And guess who never looks in those folders?
I clearly need some new ideas about paperwork.
(Just so you know, I am researching this as I write it, so what follows should be what I discover).
Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Maybe my file cabinet isn’t such a good idea after all. What am I keeping in there? I’m guessing about 99% of it could be tossed. For example: the dog’s papers. This consists of all of her shots and visits to the vet or the groomer. Why do I need these? They have their own record on their computer!
- All those manuals and warranties that came with our electronics and appliances? They were all registered online and each has a manual available online as well. Toss them.
- Yvonne from Stone Gable (one of my favorite blogs) has a file folder system that seems to be pretty efficient and easy to do. She stresses that it’s important to check it every day and weed it out once a week.
- The KonMari method (The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing) recognizes3 kinds of papers: the ones you are dealing with now, the ones you need for a short time, and important papers. All others should be tossed. You can find out more at Kelly Gartner Style here.
I think the biggest lesson that I’ve learned here is that when we try to deal with too many papers, it’s like trying to organize clutter; it doesn’t work.
We have to make a concentrated effort to get rid of any and all excess papers and then organize the small amount that is left.