Paper Clutter

So this weekend we decided to tackle the elephant in the room, or should I say closet. We had accumulated way too much paper and we had decided to declare war on it! I waited until Sunday to get going on the project. I picked a hot and sunny day. My distractions were huge but I had spoken my goal out loud to a group of friends. I am true to my word and up for the challenge!

We keep most of our papers in our walk-in closet where we keep two filing cabinets, that needed to be sorted and gone through. Those files needed to be sorted and organized a better way.

We set the stage:

  • Large flat surface to sort papers– in our case that would be our kitchen table. A place to sort and organize
  • One willing helper – in my case that is my husband. This is the person to help you stay focused and to help you make decision as to what should go and what should be saved. This is also the person who puts things in the proper place around the house while you stay focused. As a professional organizer, I am often that helper that is brought in.  As one organizer said at our national conference in San Diego, “sometimes it takes an expert to hold the trash”.
  • Distractions at a minimum – well this didn’t work so well. We had kids at home that wanted to be fed. But for the most part they were able to fend for themselves.
  • Supplies – for this task that meant files and recycling containers as well as my trusty label maker! I also had a container where everything that needed to be shredded was placed. This is a task for our younger son or will be burned in our fire pit this week. The important thing is to make sure that all sensitive information will be destroyed in a safe way.
  • Ask questions – I really thought hard before I placed something in a file to see if I really would need it in the future or if I could get it from another source. Manuals for small appliances were recycled. Ones for major appliances that would go with the sale of our house were kept. I had a box of papers that I hadn’t touched in 3 years. Do you know how many of those papers I kept? Exactly 20%….out went the rest! Sometimes time is a blessing. I had less emotional attachment on the papers and they were easier to get rid of.

This week I challenge you to attack that stack of organizing that needs to be done. Do what I did and set the timer for 10 minutes….and before you know it….6 hours has gone past!

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at .

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