Monday, January 17, 2011


Well, last week it was the craft/tool/decorative stuff area in our basement, and that before was pret-ty bad. This week I’m tackling the clutter that doesn’t make a big mess physically, but it does take up a lot of space in my head. It’s presence wears on me, makes me feel completely unorganized and occasionally costs us money.

It’s the PAPER. (Dun dun duuuun.)

I swear to you – it is the one thing I just can’t get it figured out. It. drives. me. NUTS.

It’s like laundry. I ignore it as much as possible. :)

But like laundry, it’s kinda hard to ignore. Bills and socks and all that good stuff. Drats.

My process with paper that comes in our home is to not really bring it into our home. I let it pile up in my car till it’s just ridiculous. Then when I can’t find the so-and-so bill, I grab it all, dump it on the floor and sort.

That happens about once a month. Or so. Or less. Whatever.

Anyway, I’m determined to conquer the PAPER this year. No more junk mail as the floor mat in the car. I’m going to figure. it. out! YEAH!

But first, I needed to go through the piles we already have. And it ain’t pretty people. We’ve had piles going in the basement for quite a while now – and I knew I had to address those before I started a new paper process.

The first pile was just random papers, cards, stuff that I had laying around:

Not so bad huh? Yes, it is so bad, but once you see the other piles, you’ll realize this was CAKE.

My problem with the papers is not having a spot for them as soon as they get in the house. (Because the file cabinets have been stuffed to the gills for ummm…years.)

My other problem is I’m a bit of a hoarder when I comes to the paper stuff. I keep cards from birthdays and anniversaries forever and ever and EVER. I also keep little pieces of paper that are a memory for me – ticket stubs, business cards from favorite restaurants, whatever. It’s one of those things I just can’t give up. I think I’m going to start scanning them all into the computer, so I can save the words and memories, but still keep some space.

After the first batch, I had this pile to shred:

Funny how the pile looks so innocent and short. It was a TON of paper.

It was when I addressed the next set of files that I realized something:

The teeny tiny shredder that overheats in two minutes just wasn’t going to cut it. :)

I went out and got the biggest, baddest shredder I could find (at Target):

Awww yeah – POWERSHRED baby!! :)

I need that sucker by the time I went through the last of the files:

Hold me. Please?

It took forever. I’ve been at this for three days now. Well not three days, 24/7 – but you know. It’s taken a long dang time.

The latest shred pile:

It’s killing me – I’m only through half of that pile, and I have THREE trash bags full:

I will never, ever buy gift bag stuffing again. :) And I’ll be vacuuming up this stuff for weeks from all over the house. Awesome.

All of this is going heading out to be recycled when I’m done. I’m betting I’ll have seven trash bags.


Some things I’ve realized when it comes to the paper clutter:

1. Being organized saves you money. I found a warranty for our windows we didn’t know about, and we have two that need to be replaced. SCORE!

2. I don’t really need to keep ALL of my class schedules from college. Really.

3. I think I’ll get by without the product pamphlet for our $10 can opener. Maybe.

4. We will never, ever go back to credit card debt:

buh bye credit

(Two years worth of credit card bills.)

5. Three trips to the hospital in pre-term labor and then five days in the hospital when the Bub finally came (three weeks early!) equaled some crazy debt that added to that pile up there. :) (I think I had blocked those numbers out – sheesh.)

6. And finally – it’s funny how some things never change:

All these – still true 25 years later. Hate my ears, still don’t make my bed, stay up way too late, still hit snooze about five times in the morning, hate math, eat too much, and still hate to change my sister’s diaper.

HA! (Love ya Stink Eye.)

I just have one little pile left to sort through – then I’m reorganizing it ALL. I’ll show you my (new) methods soon and let you know if they work. :)

So, is paper your nemesis? Have you ignored the growing piles for years like me? Or have you found a process that works? Do tell! PLEASE. I’m begging.


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