The following post was actually a comment on my “What would Sandy Suggest” blog post. I felt there was so much great content in here that I decided to take her comment and make it a guest post!
Unless it is a beautiful wallpaper, paper is one of the biggest problems for people and I know I have people ask me about it all the time, just like Stephanie. Here are her tips on paper decluttering.
I have found that paper paralyzes many of my clients. We hold on to a lot of the stuff! Here is one way of thinking when you are in declutter mode: Think DART — Throw your DART and You’ll Hit Your Mark Every Time! The D in DART is for Decision. You have to make a decision about the items in the piles that you have.
The A in DART is for Action. There are different types of action, but no system works unless you ACT!
The R in DART is for Reference. We all have items that we keep for reference. There are specific tools that you use to keep those items where you can remember them.
The T in DART is for Toss. Now, toss does not necessarily mean throw away. I can mean recycle, shred, sell, does not belong in this room, etc…
8 Questions to Use as You are Making Your Decisions
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to make the decision process process easier:
Does it require any action by me/us?
If an item requires action (a phone call to make, a report to write, a bill to pay, an outfit that requires altering) then it is an “ACT.” Keep everything that requires action in one location, so that when you have time, you will be able to go through and check the items off of the list! This is the A in DART — for action.
Are there tax or legal implications?
Have you talked to your council about the information you keep and how long you keep it? If not, you might want to consider doing so. Each industry has different documents that should be retained as does residential paperwork. If you answer “yes” put in your Reference system; if not Toss.
Is it recent enough to be useful?
Is the address book that has not been updated in 3 years really current? Just like food has an expiration date so do the things in your life. If you are keeping things that are no longer current, you are not allowing yourself the space for new and better things to start. If you answer “yes” put in your Reference system; if not Toss.
Is it difficult to obtain again?
Birth certificates, legal documentation, marriage licenses, company incorporation papers, the list goes on and on. If there are items that are difficult to find or obtain again, you may want to consider keeping the item in a container designated for that type of item. If you answer “yes” put in your Reference system; if not Toss.
Is it beautiful, useful or loved?
Are you keeping something that you think is hideous because it was a gift to you from someone special? Don’t. Only surround yourself with things that bring you joy. Most likely, the person that gave you the gift would not want you to keep it if they knew you did not like it. If you answer “yes” put in your Reference system; if not Toss.
Can I identify specific use?
Do you keep things because you might “need them someday?” That is fine if you #1, have the space to keep the items and #2 know what you are going to do with the item. If you are keeping something for the express purpose of keeping it, consider that item a little harder. If you answer “yes” put in your Reference system; if not Toss.
Does it reflect the person I was or the person I am now?
Are you keeping things that were important to you in the past, but really do not have the same meaning anymore? Does your space reflect who you are or who you were? Get rid of things that no longer hold meaning for you. If you answer “am” put in your Reference system; if “was” then Toss.
What is the worst possible thing that could happen if I get rid of this?
This one is one of my favorite questions! If you can ask yourself this question and find that you can live with the answer, then it can make it easier to let go. Decluttering is not only limited to paper but also to other things stored in your garage.
I look forward to the next edition of What Would Sandy Suggest.
To your success!