Deciding on a Time and a Place
It takes a fair amount of organisation to get your paperwork sorted, so I would suggest that you make an event of it. Choose somewhere where you will not be disturbed and where you can listen to inspirational music while you sort through the paperwork that leaves a trail through your life. The reason why music is central to the equation is that it relaxes you, and time will pass much quicker when you are relaxed and able to deal with the task in an enjoyable way. Make yourself a cup of coffee, sit yourself down, and work out a time when you will be able to tackle sorting out this paper trail. Don’t look at it as a task. Your mentality should tell you that it’s a wonderful opportunity to enjoy yourself and make some nice changes in your life.
The space that you choose needs to be big enough so that you can spread the papers out in front of you. You will also need to get some items together before you start as these will help you in the process. These are as follows:
BOX FILES – These are files that are made of cardboard and can easily be labeled with their use. Each box should have a heading on it, so that it represents one pile of the paperwork, such as household utility bills, bank statements, car papers, etc., so you will also need to invest in a thick, felt tipped pen to do this marking.
It’s a good idea to have a waste bin since this allows you to cheerfully place items that are of no significance into the bin. For those sentimental files, it may also be useful to have a digital camera, so that you can store images, rather than allowing the paper to build up in your life. You will also need to use your scanner to scan papers in order to digitise them as this kind of storage is fun and takes up absolutely no space at all.
Use of Affirmations
The reason this is so relevant to what you are doing when sorting out paperwork is that you can reinforce everything that is happening as it is happening:
- “I am lighter in my mind and able to organise myself” can be an affirmation that you use each time you get rid of a piece of this paperwork.
- “My life is lifted to a higher level of organisation and harmony” can be another affirmation that you use when you have put away some of the paperwork that is bogging down your life.
- “My mindset is clear, and my life is thoroughly enjoyable because I don’t let things build up,” can be another affirmation.
When you have everything that you need to get your paperwork sorted out, don’t jump into the process until you have the right mind-set. You need to be positive and see the task as helping you to psychologically dump all of this baggage that has been holding you back for so long. When you equate the job with the way that your mind sees life, you will instantly know the benefits and are less likely to question the process that you are going to go through.
I think that classical music and relaxation go hand in hand with the paper decluttering process because it mellows you into the flow of the job you have to do in an enjoyable way. If you try to do it too quickly and in an unplanned manner, you are likely to give up and alienate yourself from the task that you really do need to tackle. Think how much easier your life will be. Think of how your mind won’t have to worry about finding things. Think about the extra time you will have in your life, and it becomes a pleasure, rather than a difficult job to do.
If you want a simple way to think about the process, think about how kids get great pleasure when they are able to put square pegs in square holes. The achievement is what drives them to try even harder to get those round pegs in the right place. Each time you file a paper, you are doing the same thing. You are achieving something important, which will enable you to see what you are doing as a pleasure rather than a burden. Think also about all the compartments in your mind which contain thoughts. When you are stressed, these overflow their separate compartments and get mixed up – a little like your paperwork is at present time. Thus, every time you manage to find a home for one single sheet of paper, you are placing all of these emotional burdens back in their boxes, making the flow of thoughts much clearer and easier to handle.
Once you have chosen your time, make sure that you won’t be interrupted because this session of working through your paperwork is an important step toward freeing yourself from the burden of disorganisation.
There’s a mantra in the minimalism world that enables people to let go of all of the emotional baggage that they carry. Letting go means empowering yourself against all of the negative exposure that your mind gets from the world. Instead of hoarding all the paperwork, which is an unhealthy pastime, see extra paperwork as being something you don’t need in your life, and as you throw things away, having dealt with them, repeat the mantra that “Less is more.”
You also need to let go of the assumption that having a piece of paper is necessary at all. If you can get your bills paid per month, you won’t have to worry about physically having to pay them, and if you go paperless, that’s even better. You can always find the bills online at any time, and why shouldn’t suppliers of your utilities do the storage for you? If you let them provide you with emails telling you how much your bills are, you can easily refer to these online and do any checks that you need to do at that time, letting go of the need to have a physical printed paper at all.
How many times have you opened your bag or looked in your pockets to find that you have many supermarket receipts? The only receipts you need are those that offer guarantees of the things that you have bought. Now would be a good time to get rid of those receipts. If you haven’t bought anything that requires you to keep those bills, then check your receipt while you are still in the supermarket, and bin it if there is no question of guarantee or wanting to take something back to the shop. Why fill your bag or your pockets with unnecessary clutter?. I know that your life will be richer once you get into the habit of letting go. If something needs to be filed and you don’t have the time, use your wall organiser, and simply place the paper into it. Then, once a week, you can file all those papers in their correct places and make sure that your home is kept clutter free. The reason I suggested a bright colour for your wall organiser is that this reminds you that you have the need to do your weekly chore. Believe me, this once a week sorting through the papers beats having to look for something you need for your taxes and being stumped because you can’t find it.
There is another area that we need to tackle which involves all of the things that you consider to be sentimental. These papers take up space in your drawers, and you may even find that you have cards scattered throughout the house, where you simply tucked them away after the event and didn’t really organise them. There are all kinds of things that fall into this category, and I have the perfect solution for you so that you choose the type of life that you want to live instead of being dictated to by the clutter that you keep around your house. Remember, your mind cannot be free of all of this stuff if you hold onto it. It is always going to make you feel frustrated about the state of your home and regretful about not having done those things which you should have done. Don’t let life become a chain of regrets. Change it into something very positive and proactive, and start to see that clutter is a thing of the past.