When it comes to tidying papers, Marie recommends disposing of anything that does not fall into one of three sub-categories: currently in use, needed for a limited period of time, or must be kept indefinitely. Get the nitty gritty on accomplishing this in week four of our 8-Week Tidy Challenge! As you tidy, keep your smartphone handy to document your progress – and tag #mykonmari on social – so we can see how far you’ve come!
Day 22: Make a Paper Pile
Gather all your papers in one spot. Make sure you haven’t left any behind; check bags and drawers – and unearth any receipts hidden beneath the couch cushions.
Day 23: Sort by Sub-Category
When it comes to tidying papers, the general rule is discard everything. Only keep papers that fall into one of three sub-categories:
- Currently in use.
- Needed for a limited period of time.
- Must be kept indefinitely.
Say thank you and goodbye to the rest. And be sure to stay hydrated – sorting papers can give you a headache! Our Discarding Guide has tips and resources for letting go of papers – and other items – responsibly.
Day 24: Tidy Odd-Sized Papers
With the exception of letters and other sentimental items, all printed materials that weren’t covered in the books category need to be tidied now. Today, sort the misfits (we’re looking at you, extra-long CVS receipts!), like coupons, business cards and junk mail (sayonara!).
Day 25: Tidy VIPs
Very Important Papers – tax returns, financial records and legal documents – should be considered carefully when tidying, but most do not need to be kept forever. Be sure to shred those that you no longer need.
Day 26: Tidy Warranties & Course Materials
With a few exceptions, you can let go of most papers in this category with gratitude. Here’s the breakdown:
- Warranties: Discard those that are expired.
- Instruction manuals: Recycle them – you can find them online.
- Course materials and lecture notes: These documents are valuable while you’re taking the class – but afterwards, not so much. Holding on to them can actually prevent you from applying what you’ve learned. Mindfully discard them.
Day 27: Tidy Greeting Cards
The purpose of a holiday greeting card is to mark a specific moment in time – discard those that are more than two-years-old, except those that spark joy.
Day 28: Make a Pending Box
A pending box is essential for keeping your papers tidy. This holds any documents that require action – like outstanding bills and unread mail. Stacking papers may seem like a clever space-saving hack, but paper at the bottom of the pile will get lost and you might keep on stacking forever. Instead, store papers upright. This will force you to confront the items in your pending box more frequently.