So, what to do with the piles, files, lone fly-aways and the like?
To help you, moving on, let’s set up a plan/system for the daily incoming. A tray, tiered file holder or whatever works for you. Place it where you naturally dump your stuff when you enter your home. This may not be where others would place it or where it looks the best but for now the point is to start a habit of immediately dealing with the daily mail, papers etc. Once this habit is a reflex then you can adjust accordingly.
Some suggested categories – recycling (flyers, advertising), garbage, bills to pay (if you receive paper bills), reference/to file, action, various household members. You do not have to use these, they are meant as examples. Depending on your life you will know what best serves you. Try not to get too detailed as this is meant to be a triage system only so that you stem the tide of overwhelm from the get go.
And, now on to the existing mountain that begs your attention. For the first purge, have only one box where you will put the papers that need to be kept. The rest must be shredded or recycled. Broad categories are much more manageable at the beginning of a large project.
Once this is complete then you can begin to separate the keep category into sub categories. This is very subjective.
Some may want to colour code, others prefer general tabs. Credit cards may work for you instead of one file for each credit card. This concept can be applied to any type of file category depending on what makes it easier for you. In order to start as you mean to go on it’s imperative that you be real. A sustainable system is the goal and that varies for each individual so there are no ‘wrong systems’.
Now, consider for a moment how long your filing system or lack of it has been neglected. Perhaps one year, perhaps 5 years – maybe you’ve never really had a filing system at all. This is only relevant as far as how long you allow yourself to now sort it out. Please do not self sabotage by putting unrealistic expectations on yourself. It may take a half hour a day, or week or 2 hours a month. Let’s choose to focus on the fact that you are DOING IT NOW.
As the great Doctor (Martin Luther King Jr.) put it, ‘You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.’
Whatever journey or project you undertake you will only succeed one step at a time. This quote is true wisdom as it can be à propos to so many aspects of our lives.