# Clutter free January # filing system

The Time-Saving Shortcut I use for Dealing with Paper Clutter + Our Command Center

Dealing with paper is one of my least favorite things to do. You wouldn't expect that a writer would hate paper so much, but I do! I find it overwhelming. It is one of my weak points. I never know what to get rid of and what to keep. I fear that I'll need something in the future. I dislike the amount of time it takes me to file things away properly. I always get behind. You get the picture. 

This video is part of The Minimal Mom's Clutter-free January. Watch this playlist to find out how many other YouTube creators deal with paper clutter in their homes. (Playlist coming soon.) 

Over the years I have devised an unconventional way to deal with paper that has worked for me... so far. I'm not saying this is the best system. But this system is great for someone like me who really detests paper clutter. It's also practical. So here it is...

With regard to paper clutter, the first thing you need to do is minimize it. So I opt for paperless services as much as I can. These days you can pretty much take care of all of your bills online and do not need paper. This is one of the major pros of digital technology. I pay nearly all of my bills online. Some companies still send me a paper statement. If I took some time I could eradicate those as well... I'll get to that one day. 

So going paperless is step one. Step two is: file only the important papers. We do have an alphabetical filing system. And I used to spend so much time meticulously filing everything away only to find the system stuffed to the brim at the end of the year and having to declutter my files. (Now, decluttering files is really an arduous task.) Now, I only file away the *really* important documents. Documents like Property Tax records, important medical information, important insurance documents, etc. 

Where does a piece of paper go if it's not deemed "really important"? Here is where you might break away from me... but I'm going to be honest and tell you what I do. I keep the documents in a box labeled with the year. Sometimes, if I don't have much paper, I will combine years. I figure that if I ever need those documents (and so far... I never have), I can take the time to sort through the paperwork in the box to supply what I need. This has been so freeing. So freeing. I no longer feel the need to alphabetically file every single paper that I decide to keep. 

What do I do with the papers that I know I don't want to keep? I get rid of them right away and don't think twice about it. When we check the mail, I immediately sort through the envelopes and catalogues and immediately get rid of what I don't want by shredding or recycling it. Important documents or letters, I will place in my command center file. I used to place these in the kitchen, but as I mentioned in my kitchen decluttering video, that created an unsightly jumble of paper clutter on my countertops which I disliked. So I keep the few letters in the command center and then go through them about once a week to pay the bills or respond in a timely manner. 

The command center I'm using here is from 1 Thrive Use code Daily10 for 10% off. The type I'm using is called The Taylor. I can't tell you how much I love this wall organizer. Please let me know if you'd like me to go over the wall organizer in a separate video. I use it for so much and truly find it valuable. I hope you enjoy hearing about my paper clutter organization in today's video. 

Also featured in today's video: The Day Designer planner TDC10 for 10% off (valid until 1-31-21)

I hope you enjoy today's video.

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Comment of the Week

Lottie M. writes, "Dressing for the winter months while living in a warm climate can be tricky. Specifically when it’s cool in the morning and 80* in the afternoon."

Hi Lottie, I completely understand that struggle. That's why I like to dress in layers so that I can remove them as the day warms up. It tends to be colder here in the morning and warmer in the afternoon. I'll often wear leggings or stockings along with sweaters or cardigans to stay warm at home.

I hope you enjoyed today's video. I would love to know how you deal with paper clutter in your household. Please share your tips with us.

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Susan M said...

I am a very organized CPA and I fully endorse your box system. I collect two months at a time (it sometimes oozes to three months) and put the folders in a banker's box stashed away. When the box gets full, I shred the oldest stuff. I have had to look through the folders maybe twice in the past 10 years. It is an easy system that works.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Hi Susan, I'm so happy to hear you say that! I felt guilty about this "shortcut" but knew that it worked for me. It's nice to get confirmation from a CPA. Thanks for watching! ~ Jennifer

SandyLight said...

Ditto! But I use an old diaper box stashed in an under-the-stairs cubby. Two great things to say about this: (1) when a bill gets paid or something semi-important comes in, it gets put in the box — so everything is in reverse chronological order (big plus); and (2) this system HAS actually saved me more than once! Digging through the chronological papers to find a bill I know I paid or an old medical record/bill that I need to know the date of has been WONDERFUL. Like our CPA 🙂, every third year, the oldest year gets tossed. It’s a great system really!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Sandy, Here I was very nervous to share my secret hack and so many of you do it too! It's so freeing! I am so happy to hear it :)

dc_occ said...

I've been a longtime reader of your blog, and have really enjoyed the clutter-free January series from you and others. Thanks so much. I've been following along, doing some major decluttering and truly feeling more at ease as a result. I'm dressing better and feel less guilty spending time with my kids. One change I picked from another blogger (Diane in Denmark) was to do laundry every morning. This change has completely changed my perspective on having a capsule wardrobe for me and my kids. I think laundry was the missing piece for me, and now that I've been doing a daily load for a few weeks I feel in my bones that I truly don't need so many clothes. (It's not just a leap of faith!) Thanks again. I desperately need some new paper management strategies and am looking forward to this week.

dc_occ said...

Sorry to leave two comments, but I'd be interested in how you manage keeping paper or other memory items. Like, what do you save of your kids artwork, and how? What do you do with Christmas and birthday cards? Have you figured this out? I have not! Thanks for your consideration.

Jeanetta A. said...

Regarding dc_occ’s question: this is what I do with my children’s artwork and special keepsakes. I don’t know how good it is, but it works for me. I have 11 children, so I have accumulated a LOT of papers throughout the years, my oldest being 27. I have two big plastic filing boxes. One box is for my children’s keepsakes and artwork. I have a folder for each child, and I just put their special papers , artwork, birthday cars, etc. in them. The second box is for my husband and me. I have a folder with each child’s name on it, and I put in all special artwork, cards, etc. that they have made for my husband and me. That way, when we pass away, the folders can go back to each one of our children and they can have special memories of what they made for us. I hope this helps!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

dc_occ - Thank you! I'm glad you have enjoyed the clutter-free January series. I am discussing storage in Monday's video. As for sentimental items: I keep a small percentage of my children's artwork in an accordion folder. I use a Preserve Journal for my cards. It's a journal where my children can write to me on my birthday and Mother's Day. It's nice to have that all in one place.

Jeanetta- Thank you! That is helpful!

~ Jennifer