September 02, 2019
Lars, when was it again that we experienced that horrible storm on the Baltic Sea on our way to Gotland? my mum asks her twin brother. We’re all gathered together and my uncle is entertaining us with all sorts of stories from the family history.
I'm sitting curled up in the cosy sofa next to my cousin, ears all open. I love to hear about their lives when they were young. And I’m always amazed by how much my uncle remembers, and in detail.
Well, he answers his sister, that must have been 1961, but the same thing happened a few times in the 50s.
Wow, my mind starting racing, the 40s, 50s, 60s, that’s so many years to choose between, longer than a lifetime. They’ve lived a long time!
Scroll forward a few years. I’m sitting with a long-time friend at a cafe, having a soya-latte and a sandwich with sun-dried tomatoes and cashew-cheese, and we’re talking about our shared history.
No, I said to my friend, that was in the beginning of the 90s, not the 80s, certainly not the 70s! I caught myself talking the same way as my mom and uncle!
What! Wow, no-no. That can't be. I’m not old enough to fling around with decades like it’s nothing. That kind of talk is for cosy family gatherings and great-grandmothers.
Some things we can’t change, and some things we can.
Ok, so I have to face the fact that I have a few decades on my shoulders now, and I’ve come to understand, my age is why I why prefer to read on paper. It’s like an older generation thing.
I want to read real paper books, from cover to cover. And I don’t even like reading articles or blogs on the screen. I used to print out what I wanted to read off the internet.
And this is crazy of course, not only printing on paper unnecessarily, but also collecting a whole lot of paper that I would most likely never look at again.
Luckily, I got to know my all-time favourite declutter queen, Marie Kondo, who has developed such a well-thought-through, practical and spiritual tidying framework.
I have spoken about her a few times and her structured way of working.
Here you can read part 1 about Clothes, and here about Books part 2. Today let's get into Part 3: Paper, yay!
Organising your paper the KonMari way
Like clothes and books, the first step in decluttering papers is to gather all the documents and papers (just the ones you are responsible for) in one place.
Observation, personal letters and diaries are NOT included in this category. Save those things for the very end of the tidying process. Sentimental items are their own category.
Documents for work are also not included in this category. Just private but not personal items.
Kondo says, the rule of thumb for papers is to discard them all. Keep only those that you’re sure you will use in the future.
Ok, this might sound a bit harsh, but there is a reason behind it.
She continues to direct that you discard any papers (like old newspapers, flyers, expired coupons etc.) that don’t fall into one of the following three categories:
One essential item for tidying papers, Kondo suggests, is a “pending box.“ Place all those papers that require action – like bills you need to pay, or letters (not personal) to answer, in this box. Book a day and deal with them in one go. The goal is to keep this box empty.
Unfinished business like this, weighs on the mind far more than we realise, Kondo points out, and I could not agree more!
After creating your “pending box,” go ahead with the tidying of the two “save” categories.
Kondo suggests putting all contract related papers in one clear plastic file.
Personally, I think I will keep them separated in a file, just to have a better overview.
Here Kondo suggests an accordion file, so you can see the contents quickly, they are useless if they aren’t easy to access.
For warranties, she suggests you keep them together. In this way, you can sort out the ones that have expired every time you search for one. Clever, isn’t it?
Manuals can today be found online or by contacting the manufacturer, so just keep the ones you particularly love.
And be thorough when you go through papers like course materials, credit card statements, etc. Will you ever look at them again?
That’s the glory question.
What I do now
I will definitely do another round of “KonMari-ing” my papers since I didn’t get it fully down the first time.
But I have gotten used to reading articles and blogs on the screen, so that’s an improvement! Yay! I save paper and space at home.
And when it’s an article that I love and want to keep, I save it in the handy software “Evernote,” I really recommend it.
Books, I still read in paper form, so I suppose by now I really do belong in the club that speaks about time in decades, and that’s fine (sort of).
One more thing! While decluttering, it’s wise to do ground cleaning before putting things back in order. Our all-purpose cleaning product Ecoclean is my top choice for this job.
Happy KonMari-ing your papers and Eco-cleaning your house!
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