Queen of Konmari Challenge Stage 3: Papers

Okay, I admit that I was really dreading this stage of the Konmari process, for the following reasons:

  1. I would have to open up and empty out all the cupboards and drawers in the study room.
  2. It just seemed like sorting through years of papers would just be interminable.

In actual fact, it was not as bad as I expected, although I did get very familiar feeling of self-loathing after the first hour of gathering all the papers in one place. This feeling very quickly dissipated once I shut the spare room door on the whole mountain of mess.

In all, it only took me a total of six tidying sessions (each an hour long) to finish this part of the Konmari challenge and it was all relatively painless.

I found clearing the papers very manageable for the following reasons:

  1. 30% of the papers I’d accumulated consisted of junk mail, warranties for items I no longer own, letters contained outdated information, magazines and research journals = all junk = could be recycled straightaway without any sort of emotional turmoil
  2. 50% of the papers consisted of sentimental items or craft/decorative items = different Konmari category and could be saved in cardboard boxes for later. Hooray for procrastination!

In actual fact, I only really needed to properly sort through about 20% of the mountain of papers that I accumulated!

Yay!

Following Konmari’s instructions to the letter (pun intended), I did make an effort to open up every single envelope, and unfold each slip of paper one by one, instead of just throwing things away as a stack.

I’m so glad that I did this because I found:

  1. My husband’s Kindle which he thought he lost at work years ago – it was tucked between the pages of an old medical journal which was sandwiched between some old revision notes.
  2. $60 in cash monies! Yay! Who doesn’t love finding money?! These were crumpled up notes and stuffed into random envelopes, and completely wrapped up in receipts.
  3. A Lip Smacker lip balm, still in pristine condition within it’s original packaging. Somehow it found itself inside an accordion file with a bunch of old household bills. I opened it up and it smelled so good. I am now using it every day so that I can smell exactly like a strawberry banana.

Of the 10% of papers that I had left, I kept the following:

  1. Personal documents for each family member (mostly certificates) – filed into separate pocket folders with one for each family member
  2. Family documents like bank account details, mortgage and leases, medical and insurance information and other legal documents – filed into one large pocket folder
  3. Deeds, warranties and manuals pertaining to our house and household appliances – filed into a single ring binder
  4. Bills and bank statements: only 2 years worth – filed into a single ring binder
  5. The Barn Owls Work Stuff – put into a cardboard box for him to sort through at his convenience
  6. Papers that need immediate attention – filed in clear plastic folder and kept on my desk
Konmari-papers

Reduced several boxes of papers down to half a shelf of files.

As you can see from the picture above, all of the household papers are now neatly and clearly organised into files which only take up half of my shelf. Everything else was shredded and sent to the recycling bin – yes sir, yes sir, ten bags full!

P.S. Why am I doing this? Here’s why.

P.P.S. Check out the rest of the Queen of Konmari series here.

If you haven’t read the books already, you can get them here:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising

Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up

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18 thoughts on “Queen of Konmari Challenge Stage 3: Papers

    • If you love them, file them nicely and keep them in a place where you’ll be able to see them! Or have them professionally bound so that you can display them on your bookshelf with pride. That’s what I’m thinking of doing.

  1. I read ” six tidying sessions (each an hour long)” and I go “Oh My!” haha.
    I am impressed by your determination to clear the clutter.

    And the best thing is you can get some rewards like Kindle, cash hiding around 🙂

    cheers, Andy
    SengkangBabies.com

  2. The keep what brings you joy and throw out what doesn’t can be quite brutal and not for the faint hearted. I usually will go through few rounds because I am a hoarder and the few rounds helps me to keep thinking if it is really necessary to keep the things.

  3. I have lots of papers that are screaming for my attention!!! Your post motivates me to do something about them.

  4. I love throwing things out and I clear out papers on a monthly basis. The only thing I need to do is clearing out the wardrobe – I’m terrified of tackling that monster. Heading over to read your post on clothes now.

    • Clearing the clothes took me two tries because the first round I could not admit to myself that there were certain items that I would never wear.

  5. Decluttering is such an important thing to do that I keep procrastinating! It’s probably the task that needs the most mental strength from me, haha! But I guess the satisfaction at the end of it is worth the effort. I am motivated to do mine too now!

    • Yeah, I haven’t really got the hang of folding everything the Konmari way, but certainly displaying the clothes the Konmari way helps me to find things easily.

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