Week 3: Papers
Papers! Uggh. This one is the biggest struggle. I think it’s safe to say that many people struggle with this. Mail comes in, it gets put on the counter, perhaps it’s opened and read, but then put back on the counter for someone else in the household to review.
In my case, something gets put in a “to-do” pile and before I know it that pile is covered up with something else and I’ve completely forgotten about it.
I’ve done many things to get ahead of this problem already. A few rules we try to follow are:
- Mail comes in and any sale papers/ads are immediately thrown away. I’m not an extreme couponer or anything so I don’t even look at these!
- We have a specific spot for unopened mail so that I can look at it when I get a chance (husband usually checks the mail so this is the best way to make sure I get to see it).
- Shred! I immediately shred anything with personal information on it after I’ve reviewed it and decided it’s not needed. An example: the hospital bill for our son’s birth before it went through on insurance. They sent the full bill but it was wrong because it hadn’t processed through insurance. I called and they said not to worry about it and that I would get another one. So, that bill is no longer needed. Shred! And for those of you who this scares thinking what if they try to say you didn’t pay your bill, etc…sure it could happen. But I would deal with that when the time comes. The fact of the matter is, I wasn’t going to pay it anyway because it was incorrect.
The Konmari method recommends disposing of anything that does not fall into one of three categories:
- Currently in use
- Needed for a limited period of time
- Must be kept indefinitely
So those are the guidelines I will follow when clearing out the paper.
Here are the sub-categories to help make sure we get it all!
- Warranties/Manuals – Only keep warranty paperwork for as long as needed (IE: 1st year) then toss it! Manuals are mostly online now via PDF versions, download those and recycle the manual.
- Pay Stubs – if it’s cleared the bank – toss!
- Bills/Statements/Notices – try to go paperless! We get most all statements online now and most of the others I shred as they come in the door – I need to get those paperless!
- Insurance Documents
- Birth/Marriage Certificates – store somewhere safe. Safe Deposit box, fireproof safe in your home, etc.
- Court Paperwork
- Notes from Lectures – I think I still have high school and college notes! Toss!
- Loose Recipes
- Used Checkbooks
- Business Cards
- Greeting Cards
- Gift Wrap and Tissue
- Thank-You Notes
Don’t forget to check and double-check all the spaces where you might have “stored” some paperwork!
What’s your biggest clutter problem? Is it paper?