For Superman it’s kryptonite and for you it’s probably paper.
If it feels like you’ve got everything organized and under control, except for the paper piling up on your desk or counter, you’re not alone.
“I really hate filing,” says interior designer Michele Bayle. “It’s one of the things I dislike most about my job. I have a tendency to stack papers until they spill over and then I have to file them.”
Mortgage expert Michele Catoire agrees. “In addition to the stuff in my garage, I let notes and notebooks pile up. They seem to be everywhere. I’m trying to go paperless this year.”
And change expert Kate Fessler admits it’s the mail that piles up around her home.
It’s natural to let small piles of paper accumulate during a busy week. The key is making sure the paper from one week doesn’t spill into the next creating a snowball effect.
Schedule time at the end of the week to work your way through small piles of paperwork. Not only will this take less time than tackling a much larger stack of paper, it will help clear your brain and reduce stress. Your brain never stops processing your environment. Check out Linda’s article on Power Sorting. Seeing a stack of paper on your desk triggers your subconscious and can lead you to feel unsettled or anxious because it’s a reminder of an unfinished task.
You can reduce stress by minimizing the amount of paper stacked up in your home or office. Here are three ways to tackle paper clutter.
Start small. If your towering stack of paper has developed a bit of a lean and is in danger of falling over, remove the top inch of paperwork and make that one inch your priority to organize. Work your way through the pile an inch, or maybe even a half inch, at a time. It might feel like you’re not making a dent at first, but you will make progress if you start small and keep going.
Set a timer. For smaller piles of paper, set a timer for 10-15 minutes. Do your best to get through as much paper in that time as you can. Try to minimize your steps around your home or office by sorting the paper in front of you and putting items away after you’ve made it through the entire pile. When you start spider-webbing around the house, you increase the likelihood you’ll get distracted and move on to something else.
Commit to functional. The goal in any organizing project is to make your space more functional not perfect. Check out Linda’s article on Organizing Sweet Spot. If you strive for perfection you’re more likely to quit before you ever get started because it’s an unrealistic goal.
It takes time to develop good habits. Stick with taking small steps and you’ll reap the rewards in the end. I can’t promise you’ll ever love or embrace paper but having a plan for organizing and filing can help you get back to feeling like your superhero self.
If you have an organizing project you don’t want to tackle by yourself, email me Linda@UnclutteredNW.com to schedule a consultation.