Minimalism Project Five: Paper

If you haven’t read the other minimalism posts yet, you should probably do that first.

I finally finished going through all of our paper clutter.

It was A LOT. The whole project has taken a week, because we only work on our clutter for about 30 minutes a day. I would highly recommend you do the same. Trying to tackle huge projects is intimidating and discouraging. So. Here’s the breakdown of how we got through our paper mess.

Day 1:

1. Where does your paper clutter congregate? Ours was the dining room table. The entire table was covered. Sort the tornado of papers into piles. Mine were: Coupons and Ads (Unexpired), Unopened Mail, To Be Filed, Keepsakes, and Recycle. Then I tossed the recycle. The table looked a million times better having 4 neat stacks of papers rather then having everything scattered.

2. I went through the unopened mail and sorted it into my existing system (Ads, To be filed, keepsakes) or I tossed it into the recycle bin. And just like that I was down to 3 piles!

Day 2:

3. I clipped all the coupons and tossed the ones I wouldn’t use. I placed all my coupons and sales ads into a shoebox and tucked it away on the bookshelf.

4. I took the keepsakes pile (pictures, ticket stubs, graduation invites, etc) and put it in our giant keepsakes box. (Another mess for another day)

Day 3:

5. Filing! I filed the remaining pile of papers into my (very awful) filing system. While I was filing, I realized that the filing cabinet was a cluttered disaster. But at least the table was clear of paper!

6. Establish an “inbox” A (preferably small) container for incoming papers to go. Don’t let the box get full! But the papers away or toss them.

Day 4:

7. Tackle the filing cabinet. I started with our manuals file. We had manuals and warranties for electronics we don’t even own anymore! WHY?!?

Day 5:

8. The utilities files. I had every single stinkin utility bill Bryan and I have ever received in our 4 years of marriage. Internet. Electric. Cable. Water. Cell Phones. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. I think I might be a paper hoarder…. Anyways. I found our last bill for each utility at each place we lived that showed we had a zero balance and our account number and stapled all of them together. For example. Our first apartment on Arizona Ave. I have, stapled together, our last cable bill, rent receipt, water bill, internet bill and electric bill. I threw the rest out. Same with our second apartment For our house (which we bought last year), I stapled together all of our Dec 2014 bills, and tossed the rest. So now instead of 7 different files, They just take up 1.

Day 6:

9. All the other files. I just went through each one and made sure I really NEEDED everything that was in there. I tossed my kitties shot records and just saved the vets business card. Especially since I know both of them were up to date on their shots on their first birthday, and haven’t had a shot since….

I also found a file of keepsakes, which I simply moved to the keepsakes box for another day. :)

How has everyone else been doing with their minimizing?

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2 thoughts on “Minimalism Project Five: Paper

  1. I had the same problem until I started digitising my paperwork. Best method is to simply photograph (there are several apps available for straightening, cropping etc) as much of your paperwork as possible that you would otherwise file. Just remember to keep backup data copies either on your own portable HDDs or using one or more of the free cloud based storage sites.

    You will find this method even declutters your already decluttered filing system:)

    Certain things like birth certificates, licences and other important paperwork however should always be kept in their original form.

    Best of luck!

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