In step 1, we put everything in a huge bin. This next step is sorting everything into three bins: keep, recycle, and shred. Decide for yourself on the best time and place to work on sorting. Typically, I like to do all of the organizing in the house by myself, but you may want or need some family member’s input on this step. I prefer to do this when my husband is watching TV that I have zero interest in, such as basketball games. He’s nearby in case I need his input on a certain document, but he is not getting in my way!
For this step, it is absolutely key that you DO NOT SORT THE KEEP PILE NOW! I repeat, DO NOT SORT THE KEEP PILE NOW! As a client recently told me, this is where she was getting hung up before we worked together. She was trying to sort as she went through everything.
Types of items in the recycle pile: junk mail, old lists, old catalogs, expired coupons, old magazines
Types of items in the shred pile: outdated bills, old receipts, bank statements, investment/retirement statements over a year old
Remember our key question from step 1: “What do I need to keep?” instead of “What can we get rid of?” If you’re unsure, put it in keep since the next step is sorting that pile.
As soon as you have these three piles, stop. DO NOT SORT THE KEEP PILE NOW. Take a break and move the recycle pile to the recycling bin and shred all the stuff you can.
Now go take a break – you deserve it!