Information is only useful if you can retrieve it. Stacks of papers don’t tend to be useful because it’s difficult to find a single paper in a stack when you need it.
Piles of papers happen when decisions aren’t made to about what to do with the paper. Piles of mail, piles of print outs, piles of coupons, piles, piles, piles are all the result of this: “I may need this or I do need this but I’m not going to deal with it right now.” Bam…it goes into a pile.
So what’s a person to do? If you have stacks and piles these are the steps to get rid of it. We aren’t addressing how to organize what you are keeping here, just how to get rid of the excess. Be warned here: working on papers takes longer than you think, so set a timer for “working sessions”.
1. Start small-
Pick one pile or part of a pile to start with. Don’t try to tackle all the paper in one day or even one session. It’s overwhelming and very tedious.
2. Ask Questions-
- Can I get this information anywhere else if I throw this out?
- What category of life is this piece of paper? kids, work, bills, medical, insurance…
- If I keep this, where will I put it? (this is a whole other blog post, but for now just figure out if you have an place to keep it)
- Why did I keep this?
- What is the purpose for having this paper?
- And the big one…What am I afraid of if I throw this paper out?
Keep doing this process with stack after stack, pile after pile, until you have gone through every paper you have. Remember, we aren’t worried about what we will do with the remaining papers right now, we are just working on getting rid of it.
This can takes weeks if you have a lot of paper. In the meantime, as new paper enters your home or office, ask the above questions to yourself. I promise you, you will stop allowing so much paper to even make it’s way into your space.
If you think you still need help doing this, you may benefit from our newly launched Virtual Organizing Academy. We will make a plan to get you through your piles while benefiting from our Professional team…all virtually!
Sign up by Friday, October 5th for early bird discounts!