356 – 2020 Declutter Files

Organize 365 Podcast
356 - 2020 Declutter Files

When decluttering, the way to make it easier, faster, and more effective is to create rules for your items. Rules free us! With rules, you will make quicker decisions and reduce your decision fatigue. You don’t need to stop and consider each item’s value or importance, you will refer to your rule and rapidly decide to keep or toss.

This week, we are focusing on decluttering the file cabinet. The Paper Solution launched in August of 2020, and I am hearing from many of you how helpful that book is in getting your paper under control. For the fall, I want to help you declutter and reduce the amount of paper you are managing (and will later organize).

When it comes to paper, you need rules. There are different kinds of papers – I think of papers as being parts of different categories. First, all actionable paper belongs in your Sunday Basket®. For the podcast today, I am focusing on decluttering your archive (sometimes called reference) papers.

When you make your rules, you need to answer two questions:

  1. What will I save? (or what will I toss/not save)?
  2. How long will I keep this category of paper?

In the podcast, I share examples of the rules I use in my own life for my own paper for several different categories:

  • Manuals & warranties
  • Phone books
  • Kids’ school papers
  • Pets
  • Home decor paperwork
  • Automobiles

I do not always keep papers, and I’ll explain why I now discard many papers in these categories. If you sort through 3-5 folders from your file cabinet each day, it will typically take around 15 minutes. Focus on identifying what you want or need to keep, and toss the rest (of course, shred sensitive private information). Most people are able to reduce their saved paper by 50-80% when decluttering this way.

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