(Prefer to listen to all the steps in one place? Check out the second episode of the Organizing Confidence Unlimited podcast.)
I want to share the system that I find works the absolute best when you feel overwhelmed by all the papers in your house. There is a fair amount of stop and go with this technique, which makes it a more-than-one day-project, but it will stop you from feeling overwhelmed and let’s be real – your papers didn’t get like this in just one day!
As you’re going through this process, walking away and coming back fresh is a HUGE help when going through piles of paperwork. It may make one part of your house a mess for a few days or weeks, but it’s a fair price to pay to get it all under control and to get your new system in place to avoid this in the future!
The question I want you to remember throughout is “What do I need to keep?” instead of “What can we get rid of?” It’s a small shift that will pay dividends for your mindset when tackling a huge project like this! You’re then thinking of getting rid of everything, unless you need it for a certain reason. You are setting yourself up for success.
Let me reassure some doubters by saying that I’m not a paperless person. I still get my bills sent to my house (though I pay them online). My mind and system work better with physical reminders of my tasks, not electronic ones. However, this technique could also be used if you want to go paperless. Once you get to the end, you can scan all the documents and save them electronically and then create an upkeep system.
The acronym I use is FISH. Find, Initial go-thru, Sort, Home.
The first step is to walk around your house and find every sheet of paper and put it in one bin such as a laundry basket. Find every single one and toss it in. Go through every filing cabinet, every drawer, and every shelf. And then stop. Don’t do anything else. Give yourself some time to be in the right mind space for the next step! As more mail and papers come in this week, go through it as best as you can and toss them into the basket as well.
Paperwork is one of the toughest areas of the home to get under control. If you are feeling overwhelmed and need some help, contact me!
I’m Maggie, owner of Organizing CU and a busy working mom who understands the struggle of trying to juggle all of it. Using my Reduce, Arrange, Maintain philosophy, I can help you get and stay organized!