The piles are huge. The file drawers are clogged. You don’t know what papers to keep or how long you need to keep them. So you keep everything.
You're Thinking You Need to Go Paperless
There's a big push in organizing and productivity circles to go paperless. But, here's the thing. Less clutter has little to do with going digital.
Clutter, simply defined, is “a state or condition of confusion” and scanning all your paper and putting them in the cloud doesn’t eliminate the uncertainty that is…“What papers do I need to keep and how long do I need to keep them?”
Or Could It Be—You Don't Know How You Feel About Your Papers
Ignoring how you feel about a paper is a big cause of paper clutter. It’s not just your filing system or lack there of.
We all clip ideas for someday. Put decisions off for another day. We're fraid to let a paper go because it reminds us of someone we love or loved. We're afraid to let it go because it's something we might use.
We hold on to useless paper out of obligation or because we might need it. We throw it on a pile because it’s just easier than making a decision or taking action.
This is true about papers. It's also true with all the other stuff we keep.
What Can You Do About It?
As you begin to build your new home filing system,
- Explore your emotions and your real needs
- Examine your uncertainties
- Understand your responsibilities
- Ask questions and call advisors
- Make decisions without fear of judgment or mistake
- Paper peace starts by embracing your responsibilities and understanding the gifts and opportunities hidden in your piles.
Because, When It Comes Right Down To It
The secret to living with less paper clutter is simply asking yourself a few questions.
- Do I need it? Is it an important record or vital document?
- Will I use it? Will I reference it or redeem it?
- Does it bring me joy? Am I happy? Does this put a big grin on my face?
If you answered no to all of those questions, then, dig a little deeper. Ask yourself "why am I keeping this?" There are unresolved feelings hiding in there.