In my house (and on my desk at work), the clutter consists primarily of paper. The sheer amount of paper that must be managed from day to day will never cease to amaze me. Even in today’s high-tech world, there is so much paper mail, memos, flyers, etc. it just boggles the mind.
It seems to me that there are two types of people: People who file, and people who pile. I am the latter. When the influx of paper reaches me, either at home or at work, I put it in piles. And there it resides until I need it, at which point I can usually find it according to the strata (I know I got that bill sometime around the same time as that coupon from The Loft, so it should be right HERE! And there it is.) I even have a pile going for things I need to file. But who has an afternoon to file? And who wants to damage their cuticles doing that anyway?
I have gotten much better with this recently. At home, I didn’t have a designated work space, and I created one on my dining room table. That is where things were piling up anyway, and we rarely eat there (although it is a continual goal to change this). Once I had a spot, I bought a few necessary office supplies, and I was in business. I made it a habit to use an inbox, and to clear the inbox at the end of the week or when it got to the top, whichever came first. This worked well, because I liked the feeling of accomplishment that came from clearing it. I plan to do the same at work, this school year, not allowing myself to leave on Friday with a full inbox.
I also bought a shredder. Shredding is fun. I sat down with all of my files, referencing a few articles about what financial files really need to be saved, and what doesn’t, and I reduced four filing cabinet drawers to the equivalent of one working drawer, and one reference drawer. It was so cathartic! Now, when I bring the mail in, I deal with it directly, putting junk mail directly into the trash, filing anything that needs to be filed, and putting things that need to be dealt with into the inbox.
The clutter has been reduced dramatically. I am still a piler — I haven’t tried to change who I am. I have just tried to reduce what gets piled, and to force myself to de-pile on a regular basis.
What works for you?