Clearing Clutter

I’ve always had a problem managing paperwork. It breeds. Truly it does. When you are not looking, it does a quick one, two and doubles it’s size. Recently I got so frustrated with my paperwork that I called a professional organizer.
I felt a little embarrassed and more than a little silly. Friends and family have told me, if you just opened the mail and took care of it as it arrives, it wouldn’t be such a mess. However I know that it’s not that simple. (That, or I’m delusional). The reason I think it’s not that straightforward is because I almost NEVER get mail at work and my desk is a sea of paper. When I do have a cleanup it reminds me of those people who drill a core sample out of the earth and read the layers – yes, that was the flood of 1967! Well, my desk is similar. Oh, there’s all those papers on that topic.

So I phoned an organiser. Karen arrived last Monday and for the first few minutes I was a twitchetty person as she looked around my unit. Finally she said ‘it’s not that bad’. In fact, she even found things to commend me on – like my pull out art drawer will all the jars clearly labelled. I didn’t take a before photo of the paperwork, so I’ve gone back through some of my photos of the cats and looked whether you can spy the mess in any of them. The photo to the left has a glimpse  – it’s the stuff almost falling out of the cupboard to the right of the television. And the stuff on the floor. Oh, and another lever arch folder in the walk-in wardrobe, one in the bedroom and then assorted piles of paper in other unusual locations including the washing basket.

There were the remnants of a filing system in there somewhere, yet I never file anything. I was so relieved when Karen said to me – ‘well you don’t even have a desk – where do you process this stuff?’ Therein lies part of the problem. ‘I just don’t know where to put it.

And do any of these make me want to file? The horrid port-a-file; the archive box; the suspension files – no!

After some time going through the mail and sorting it into categories, we discussed purging. How long did I really need to keep this stuff – both legally and personally. Better yet, why did I keep some of this stuff?

We also talked about where the mail goes the moment it comes into the house as that is definitely part of the problem – at the moment it gets put anywhere and everywhere!

Last, but not least, the ‘filing system’ needed a solution. We settled on using a ‘manilla folder’ system placed within a basket. The basket would match my other furniture and the folders with TABS would allow me to quickly see what was inside. It would not be stunning beautiful however it would have the edge over the port-a-file, leverarch folders, archive boxes or suspension files.

We had come up with a plan for paperwork, gathered it all into one area of the house and in less than an hour! Whereas before I stared at it like this overwhelming teetering tower of paper, I now had a plan and it didn’t seem so scary.

I ventured out to purchase my new folders and a basket. Upon arriving home, I started the ‘purging’. How much could I toss?

Well, I can’t answer that question because I’m STILL purging. These two piles can all go. I’ve deliberately not tossed as I’ve gone along as I want to see how much I am able to throw away. I think it gives me a sense of satisfaction looking at the purging pile growing and the filing pile shrinking. It motivates me to keep going. Which is lucky really, because in the meantime my basket got taken. (Naughty Saffron!)

I’m pleased to say that I eventually got Saffron out and my folders in. It’s all a work in progress yet I’m pleased with where I am at. I don’t have any regrets about calling a Professional Organiser and no longer feel silly. I wish I had done it sooner!


Posted on November 26, 2011, in Cats, Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Sadly, you have inherited the MM Gene(s). You could have called in the mess cleanerupper and filing expert from Rosemeath Avenue (for free).

  2. Gee you have really eaten that toad. Good on you. Pity Saffron could not lend a helping paw. Now I know why you needed the shredder. I think it is a great idea to get some help

  3. Oh I know just what you mean. Paper is the enemy. No matter how much of it I chuck out, there’s always more. And I swear it a) breeds when I’m out (as do books) and b) breathes out into whatever space I think I’ve created. I have been sorting, shredding, recycling myself. I never thought about professional advice. Maybe it’s the answer. That and having my hoarding gene surgically removed.

  4. Ha ha! Good job! I hate to say but I’m one of those people who can toss my mail right at the mailbox. All the junk goes straight into the bins. But, somehow I still end up with a pile of stuff to file. Filing is such an annoying tedious task. I think I’m going to set up a basket system like this for the important stuff I need to file and access regularly. The cabinet can just be for archives for the tax man and such. Thanx for the great tips! Re

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