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Are you holding on, just in case?

Updated: Sep 9, 2019

Do you find comfort in keeping paperwork on hand? Just in case? Do you have cabinets and files full of records of your financial information? Perhaps you keep documents you have written, academic content, business records or more? How much of what you are keeping do you need? How much could be scanned and saved to your computer? How much can be throw away? How much needs to be shredded?


You may have reached the point when you look at the accumulated paperwork in your home that you don't know where to start. If so, you are not alone. It's a common place to land and it can be overwhelming. What I would say is this - take it one drawer at a time. You will want to have either boxes or bags on hand to sort it all. I had three piles - Trash, Shred and Recycle. Personally, I used trashbags. One for trash and one for recycle. I put the shred bag directly in the shredder and when it was full, I put a new one in the machine.


I kept the shredder close at hand. As I sorted through documents, I would run the shred pile through the machine. That way I wouldn't be tempted to go back and keep the items later. Every time I filled a trash or recycle bag, I would place it in the appropriate can. They were out of my house immediately.


Now you may be thinking, what types of paperwork should I get rid of? Here's a list:

  • Cards that you are keeping - if there are ones you really want to keep, use a box to store them (think shoebox or smaller)

  • Memorabilia or photos you don’t need - if you can't remember when or where it was from? Get rid of it.

  • Old notebooks or school books that are no longer of use or current

  • Old magazines you’ll never reread

  • Old mail, manuals, receipts and paperwork

  • Old business cards

  • Shredding that needs to be completed

  • Birthday cards

  • Unfinished projects

  • Manuals for appliances, etc. that you no longer have or that can be found online

  • Paperwork that is more than 7 years old and no longer can be used to audit you

  • Childrens' schoolwork or paperwork you don't need to keep

  • Childrens' artwork - they produce tons of it - if you really want to keep it, find a place for it and limit how much you allow to stay. I use expandable poly files - once they are full, it is time to clean out.

What paperwork do you need to clear out? Perhaps, your house is in good shape but you have too much old paperwork in your office? In your workspace?


If you spend 15-30 minutes daily this week, I promise you will feel lighter by the end of the week.


Are you wanting a more in depth decluttering experience? My 60 Day Declutter Workshop is currently in process (we started September 4th), you can still register to participate!

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Christy Zuehl

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EDIT Learning & Design, LLC

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