Hello again, friends. If you’ve been following along, you know that last year I read Marie Kondo’s international best-seller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and each week this month I will be sharing with you nine ways the Kon’Mari Method has helped to improve the organization and quality of life in my home over the past year.
Last week we discussed how my morning dress ritual was transformed from dreadful to peaceful by way of the Kon’Mari Method. This week I want to focus in on the second category outlined in Marie Kondo’s book, my homes paper piles.
If your home is anything like my own, paper spreads around like sands of the Sahara. It’s everywhere and hard to contain. We shuffle papers from place to place, from pile to pile, but sooner or later paper will start to take it’s toll on the visual place in your home.
I work from home in the legal field. My husband is a public school teacher. I am also a blogger. We are constantly bombarded with papers of all capacities. Decluttering paper, while not as tough as decluttering books, was in it’s own right an equally difficult challenge.
Keep in mind, the papers section of the the book left a little to the imagination as the section was only a scant ten pages in length there were still many, many lessons on paper which we were able to learn. So, here are the nine lessons we have learned while using the Kon’Mari Method on paper:
Consider legalities: In terms of tackling important legal papers we utilize a simple rule: if it doesn’t require a raised seal to be deemed legal, it can re scanned, stored, shredded, and discarded. For the remaining papers such as voting cards, birth certificates, our marriage license, mortgage packet, high school diplomas, my husband’s military forms and DD214 records, and insurance records are kept in a fire-proof lock box in our home.
Take dates into consideration: When going through our original mortgage documents, tax records, and school records we took the Feds rule into account, we only kept seven years worth of documents. All else was scanned and stored.
Art for art’s sake: In terms of created art, we take photographs of artwork and papers we want to remember with our iPhones and posted them to Notabli, an app for saving and organizing your child and family’s most treasured moments. Another fun was to save art is to scan art and turn it into online screen savers, which allow our family to be constantly surrounded by the images that spark joy in our lives. The 1% of art that we truly want to keep physically on-hand goes into a fire-proof file folder or matted, framed, and hung up in our home.
We re-evaluated what was really important: Often people hold onto clutter because they feel it’s vital to their home’s success. To avoid this paper-induced black hole, we signed up for online bill statements, digitized product warranties, scanned only the greeting cards from deceased loved ones we truly treasured, shredded all checkbook registers and utilized our online check services at our credit union, and kept only a year’s a piece of pay slips. Everything else we shredded and recycled.
We created a household inventory: While Kondo suggests putting all business papers in one clear plastic folder without sorting them into categories we instead opted for a indexed, fire-proof file folders. We stored all of our family insurance records. We then created a digital household inventory that lists out insured belongings, emergency information, tax and insurance records, and our pet records as well. While keeping two file folder portfolios, we minimized our files by focusing not on physical records but by setting up an household inventory binder. This binder lists our overall inventory of insured goods and documents how we want our household to be run.
We rethought mail: We started a new rule, a one-touch rule. Within minutes of mail coming into our home we sort and file bills, advertisements, and junk mail immediately. All mail that will require our attention at a later date is pinned to our family memo board. We do this to keep papers from drifting to other rooms. Once and done works well for us.
We rethought photographs: We took a lesson from my family art work and digitized all photographs using the Notabli app. The only non-scanned photos we have are framed and mounted to the wall.
I rethought my writing: As a blogger and a writer, I use paper to sketch out ideas or get feedback from others. I applied Kondo’s method to my blogging by dividing my writing into three categories: assignments needing immediate attention, short term projects, and long term projects I might not revisit for months or years. I created a spreadsheet of ideas, added dates to both my blogging planner and google calendar, and then wrote down all topics on sticky notes which were transferred to a physical editorial blogging board. This keeps my ideas are both tangible and within reach.
We gave ourselves a timeline: As a family we gave ourselves one month’s time to complete this leg of the Kon’Mari method. At the end of three weeks, we ended up with seven bags of papers. And best of all? All of our family papers now resides in a single space within our office space, and nowhere else. And to further keep chaos at bay we make sure to do a nightly paper sweep of our home and shred unneeded mail before heading off to bed. This is the ultimate take away for us, the Kon’Mari method for papers must be maintained daily!
It goes without saying that decluttering our home files has brought my husband and I smalls sparks of joy each time we know we no longer have paper piles all over the home. We feel more organized. We have cleaner office counters. We pay closer attention to papers needing immediate attention. While decluttering papers is an arduous task, I guarantee you that you won’t miss those papers once they’re shredded and gone.
Be sure to stay tuned to need week’s category, komono and mementos.
So, everyone have you used the Kon’Mari Method to organize your families papers? If so, I’d love to hear about it!
Here’s to decluttering,
Other posts in the series:
Part 3- The Kon’Mari Method: Paper Organization (you’re here!)