Turns out, I have a ton of these papers. I knew I was somewhat of a paper hoarder, but I have about 3 square feet of paper to sort through and declutter.
One three ring binder I went through this morning has papers and documents I have been holding onto since I was a senior in high school and freshmen in college. Some of those documents are five years old this month. And as I went through each page protector, I threw away all but two of the documents. Why had I held onto them for so long?
My 16 month old daughter was even helping me out. She was so eager to throw things in the trash can that she tried to grab things and throw them out before I had a chance to inspect it. I had to encourage her to slow down but she also forced me to speed up my decision making process. I would look at a paper as quickly as I could so that I could hand her something to throw away.
Best part of the process so far? Other than getting rid of the excess, I was also thrilled to find $190 in cash! I'm usually super responsible with my money so I was surprised to find such an amount stashed away. I believe this was cash we received when we got married and I put it together in an envelope with the wedding cards. Moral of the story? Go declutter your junk and maybe you'll even pay yourself for doing so.
I am only about halfway through decluttering my papers but it is a great start. And once I declutter them, then I can figure out how I want to organize. The three categories of papers to keep (according to Marie Kondo) are:
- Papers that require attention (need to be dealt with within the next 1-2 weeks, such as bills)
- Papers to keep for the shorter-term (such as recent blood work, monthly budget, etc.)
- Papers to keep long-term/forever (such as tax returns, birth certificates, etc)