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The Declutter Diaries: Day 31

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The Declutter Diaries is a series of posts I did for a former blog as a glimpse inside a real decluttering project [with occasional editorial comments from my present self].  You can start with Day One here.

Read Day 30

Decluttering File Cabinets

After 10 trips up and down two flights of stairs moving school stuff, I decided that was enough trips to the basement for today.  I went through two file cabinet drawers and culled a stack of papers to be tossed.  This created enough space to sort the pile from the desk into the file cabinet.  There’s even room to spare so you can actually file papers in there!  [Oh, the love-hate of file cabinets.  On the one hand, I love to save paper, on the other, I really hate to file it.  So once it’s in the file cabinet, it rarely comes out again.]

It takes a lot of energy to declutter paper from a file cabinet

I cannot believe how much energy it takes to sort through stacks of files!  It’s very draining to sit and make decisions about what to keep or toss.  [This is a great truth, Past Self.  When you have to sort through paper piles, give yourself plenty of time and grace.  Decision making really does require plenty of energy.] 

Some stuff is quite easy, like policies you no longer carry, old versions of your health care insurance, outdated catalogs, etc.  Other stuff is fairly difficult, especially for insurance and financial records I’m not sure are current.  I have had to defer a stack of files until my husband can take a look at them.  I think I cleared about 1 foot of paper out of the drawers.

How much paper have you tossed today?

[This is a short entry, so I’ll add some commentary from the present.]

Paper is my nemesis

I’ve shared in other posts (There Were Piles and Pile Analysis) how piles grow in my home, seemingly by themselves.  A typical pile is 95-100% paper.  I have learned to limit paper when possible, like recycling junk mail immediately and canceling catalogs.  But there is still a tremendous amount of paper in our modern lives, especially if you homeschool.

In all honesty, though, I had problems with paper long before I started homeschooling.  It mostly stems from being an information junkie.  I just love learning and find many things fascinating.  And I am also inclined to empower other people, which means I save information that might be useful to other people.  I love to pass on articles, or share resources with people (hence this blog) and equip them to do whatever it is they do.

Paper pile organization

Consequently, paper, in all its many forms, tends to pile up and overflow filing cabinets, desks, and bookshelves (and, yes, cover the floor *embarrassed cough*).  With the exception of major storage spaces like the basement and closets, I feel I have made real progress over the years in keeping my house organized.  But paper continues to drag me down.

So I am checking out several programs for organizing papers to see if I can finally tame this paper tiger.  After test driving, I will write posts and make recommendations.  Stay tuned.

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