What Do You Do With Items That Don't Spark Joy?

by Lisa Woodruff

Mar 22, 2019 | Episode 272 | 28:44

Let’s be real. Not every item in your home will spark joy as soon as you see it or pick it up. And, it doesn’t have to.

In this episode of the podcast, I explore what we should do with the items that don’t give us any real joy in our lives. But first, I’ve got a question for you…

Have you ever read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo?

It’s a great book that encourages readers to transform their homes into a clutter-free zone using the KonMari Method. As an organizing nut, I’ve read this book from cover to cover. Although I enjoyed it, I don’t think its paper organizing solutions work for American women.

The KonMari Method challenges you to keep the things you really love and get rid of the rest. Literally. While this method might work for some, it doesn’t work for people like me who have a lot of stuff and no time to stop and think if an item sparks true joy.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for keeping items that have real meaning and decluttering the things that don’t have much of a purpose. But, what about paper? In her book, Marie’s key principle for sorting papers is to throw them all away (I know, I had to hold myself up after reading that, too).

There’s no way we can get rid of ALL our paper. I can’t function as an American woman, business owner, homeowner, wife, and mother without paper. I just can’t.

So, we’re going to dive into this further and figure out just how much paper we can get rid of and how much we can keep. Let’s jump in!

Sorting Your Papers

85% of the papers you have in your house are shreddable. That leaves you with 15% that you’ve deemed important or necessary enough to keep.

So, let’s take that 15% and start a complete paper organization overhaul, shall we?

Unless you’re a passionate organizer like me, sorting your papers probably doesn’t fill you with feelings of joy and happiness.

Instead of picking up a paper and asking yourself if it sparks joy, ask whether it is useful.

If you don’t have any use for it, it’ll meet its grim fate in the shredder. If it does have use, it can be organized into binders.

Should You “Go Paperless”?

Is going 100% paperless a good idea? And, is it even possible?

The short answer is no.

Yes, you can go digital with lots of different things in your personal life and/or business. But, paper is never going to stop. It’ll always find a way to slip back into your life, whether that’s in the form of a letter, tax return documentation, or your kid’s art pieces!

Although it seems like the world is taking everything digital, there will always be a place for paper. You can try to go digital. But sooner or later, you’ll need somewhere to organize your papers.

Take a young couple as an example. Yes, they’re all into technology and the "Cloud." But, when they have their first child and he/she returns home from school with a backpack filled with drawings, they want to keep them all forever. Three kids down the line, they’ve got stacks of old drawings and no storage space for all the paper they’ve accumulated!

If you’re in a similar situation, have a binder for each child. Then, choose 100 of your favorite drawings and keep those. You don’t need to keep every little thing your child creates. Sure, your kid might be the next Picasso, but how many pumpkin pictures does one family need?

Save the ones that are the most useful. They’re the ones that make you feel good and are laced with happy memories. If you need help sorting your kid’s school papers and art, check out our Kid’s School Memory Binder.

Organizing Your Reference Paper

Actionable papers and reference papers have different usefulness, profitability, and portability, which means you’ve got to organize them differently, too.

I recommend that every family have four specific binders:

  1. Financial Binder
  2. Medical Binder (for each family member)
  3. Household Reference Binder
  4. Household Operations Binder

(Each of these binders is also available for International use. You can find the International versions over in our Shop.)

All your reference papers can go into one of these binders, where you can access them easily and update as and when required.

You can’t haul a filing cabinet around with you. But, with all your papers neatly organized in binders, you can literally just grab and go.

Organizing Your Actionable Paper

Actionable papers are things like bills, receipts, forms, and things that require some form of action. Reminders like changing air filters, giving your dog flea and tick medicine, and so on all come under this same category of "actionable paper."

The problem with this type of paper is that it just gets everywhere. You’ll find them on your nightstand, on the kitchen table, and even tucked away in your car’s glove compartment.

So, how can you organize all your actionable papers?

The answer is with the Sunday Basket System.

Keeping all your actionable to-do lists, bills, reminders, and so on inside your Sunday Basket gives you complete control over those papers and helps you develop a more organized way of thinking.

Don’t Let Paper Control You!

I honestly can’t imagine a world without paper. Technology is great, but there’s nothing like writing things down and having a physical copy of the things that are important to you.

Remember that paper doesn’t have to control you, you control paper.

If you’ve tried any of my suggestions for paper organization, I’d love to hear from you! Share your stories or snaps with me on Instagram and don’t forget to join the Facebook group for more great organizing tips! Tag me in your posts @organize365 or use the hashtag #organize365!

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Sunday Basket to do list solution