Happy Wednesday! My KonMari journey continues today with a chat about my experience decluttering paperwork. After dealing with my book collection (see that post HERE), I was ready to tackle some items with which I did not have an emotional connection. While I do own a lot of papers that I consider sentimental, such as letters, cards, and photos, I am saving all of those paper memorabilia items for the end of my KonMari journey when I go through the sentimental category. The paperwork I will be discussing today includes all of the boring stuff – bills and statements, manuals, newspaper and magazine clippings, schoolwork, etc. Let’s talk about decluttering paperwork and how this process went for me!
This blog post will not contain any photographs of my actual paperwork as I wanted to ensure any confidential information was kept private. I do apologize that I cannot share more of this decluttering process with you, but I still wanted to share my thoughts on decluttering papers.
When I placed all of my paperwork into one large pile through which to sort, I had two piles of old schoolwork, two piles of miscellaneous papers, and one plastic file bin half filled with old papers. I started with all of the papers that were not school related, and found it very easy to weed through them. Marie Kondo recommends keeping only those papers for which there is a clear purpose. She also says it is important to keep a pending box for all of those papers that require your attention, such as bills that need to be paid, recipes you want to try, and cards to bring to the post office. This pending box allows you to keep sorting through your paperwork without attempting to complete any tasks that may interrupt the process. However, it is important to set a date to go through your pending box and complete all of the needed paperwork so it doesn’t sit uncompleted forever.
I couldn’t believe how easy it was to declutter my papers! I had tons of paperwork from when I first applied to college. That was ten years ago now! Why did I originally keep all of the informational brochures and various letters from each school? I separated all of the papers I was discarding into a pile that needed to be shredded and a pile to recycle. After going through all of the papers, I could fit all of them into about one-third of the plastic file tote! This leaves me plenty of space for future tax years, and I might even get a storage box that is half the size once my tidying campaign is over.
When it came to my schoolwork, I did break Marie Kondo’s rules a little bit. She recommends getting rid of all your old coursework, but I decided to keep some of it because I only graduated from law school a couple years ago and am still in the early stages of my career. That being said, I did pay careful attention to what I was keeping and what I could easily recycle. This process took a long time, but in the end my two piles were reduced to one. I even ended up with a spare storage crate!
All in all, tidying papers was much easier than I expected. It took me a total of three hours and forty-three minutes to declutter my paperwork, but the time went by quickly and it was very easy to feel what sparked joy. I recognize that my starting pile of papers was probably smaller than the average person’s, but that is because I only have my papers to deal with and I’m still quite young. Nonetheless, I think tidying your papers will be much easier than you think if you follow the KonMari method! As always, feel free to divide the paperwork category into smaller categories that work for you so you do not get overwhelmed.
How do you store paperwork? Let me know in the comments!