The Task of Decluttering by Organizing Papers
I have a paper problem. Historically, I’ve exhibited the tendencies of a pack rat. That’s probably just a way to word things in order to deny that I am a pack rat. I’m trying to get better. I just read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I enjoyed the book. While there seems to be an implicit animism at work in the book, Kondo prompts the reader to think more critically about the “things” in his or her life. One constant in my life seems to be piles of paper. Kondo offers a practical strategy for dealing with these:
Papers are organized into only three categories: needs attention, should be saved (contractual documents), and should be saved (others). The point is to keep all papers in one category in the same container or folder and to purposely refrain from subdividing them any further by content. In other words, you only need three containers or folders. Don’t forget that the “needs attention” box ought to be empty. If there are papers in it, be aware that this means you have left things undone in your life that require your attention. Although I have never managed to completely empty my “needs attention” box, this is the goal to which we should aspire.
I’ve invested in a good double-sided scanner and an Evernote premium account. I scan everything and attempt to shred everything for which I don’t need originals or hard copies. This works well for reducing the paper clutter. Now I have to deal with the problem of unorganized notes cluttering up my Evernote inbox!