Day 4: How to Declutter Your Papers

For today's Decluttering Awareness Week, I am going to be calling upon one of the experts for help, Marie Kondō !

I don't usually go by one specific teachers model, unless a client specifically asks for it or if I know some of the strategies will work in a session. However, Marie's method for decluttering paper is exactly the type of process that works every time! She is ruthless in the papers that actually need to be kept and sets clear boundaries.


I want to start this blog by saying I know this process seems simple, that's because it is! Don't over complicate it, it is really not that hard. Don't over think it! It all comes down to "do I need this or not?"

Here is how I get paperwork under control


We always need to find a clear space to start the decluttering process. So make sure you pick a place that you can spread out and can sort into categories.


Steps to Decluttering Paper:

  1. Gather all papers in your home, office, home office, home school, etc. Yes, that means all the newspaper/magazines/bits of notes on the fridge

  2. Sort: Marie's method for sorting is really simple and can applied in both home life and work:

  3. Currently in use

  4. Needed for a limited period of time

  5. Must be kept indefinitely. These are passports, IDs, certificates

Sentimental papers such as greeting cards or letters are not considered to be apart of Marie's paper organizing, but these should be sorted and purged as well.


3. Sort the three categories into the final two categories:

a. Papers to be dealt with. These are bills, forms, papers need a signature or attention

b. Papers to be saved


What to do with the papers that need further attention?

Store these papers vertically in an organizer. Since you might have seen that stacks of paper have a tendency to grow larger and larger, eliminate the option for them to pile on top of one another by storing them vertically.



Finally thoughts:

Here are some of the papers you might be keeping but don’t actually need:

  1. Every bank letter that is not personal

  2. Electronic manuals

  3. Course Materials

  4. Credit Card/Bank statements - unless you need them for tax purposes - shread them

  5. Flyers/booklets

  6. Greeting cards

  7. Clippings (recipes, newspapers)

I hope this helps you declutter your papers!


Happy Decluttering! Caitlin

P.S. If you want to take this further, here’s where you can sign up for a private consultation

**As always, before discarding financial records, consult your attorney or CPA


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