Life in 409

This blog is about my quest to declutter my apartment. It focuses on clutter, decluttering, and the endless quest to separate the junk from the important stuff - at home and in life.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Clearing a path

Sorry I have not posted. Believe it or not, I have gotten a lot done at home. I can see the differences, here and there, though I think a stranger walking in would still be a little overwhelmed by the clutter.

I actually got inspired by taking out "Organizing from the Inside Out" at my local library - and then proceeded to ignore most of the instructions and planning stages, in favor of jumping right in (which the author specifically said NOT to do). The book actually makes a lot of sense and has already helped my thought processes somewhat. I loved the idea of making a space easy to use, so you use it more often. Case in point, my filing. I do tend to keep a lot of papers (mainly paid bills and medical claims) but my filing tends to pile up, because my file box is in an inconvenient place. I keep it on the shelf under the computer which is a)dark, b)hard to get to, especially when someone is on the computer, and c)distracting, because I usually end up jumping online "just for a second" and stay online until I get called away, usually before I actually do any filing.

So, I bought a new file box (to replace the shabby A-Z file folder currently housed inside a milk crate) and I put the file box in the kitchen - next to the mail slot where I usually end up sticking the stuff to be filed. VOILA!!! File this under "why didn't I think of that?"

In the process of being excited about filing (and also thinking about getting my tax stuff ready), I also threw out a ton of paperwork. Like I said, I save a lot of papers. I don't think I'm obsessive as some people, but I realized there was plenty I could throw away, including
  • Medical claims and paid bills from 1997-2001 (I kept the last few years though)
  • Bank statements and paid credit card bills from 1997 to maybe 2002 or 2003
  • All the paperwork on my student loans, which were paid off in 2003 (I kept the final statements for each)
  • Paid parking tickets from over the last 10 years. There must have been 20 or 30. I only kept the most recent ones.

Probably some other stuff went out too. I didn't weigh everything but I'd guess there were 50 to 100 lbs of paper. Amazing! In doing this I cleared a whole shelf on my printer stand and fit all the rest into another file box (it's mainly tax stuff going back 6 years and the bank statements & credit card bills from those years). That's also in the kitchen now, underneath the active files. Of course, the newly cleared shelf is already filled with stuff again, but that's temporary -- it's mainly stuff I want to put on ebay, Craigslist or Freecycle and haven't had a chance.

Best of all, it's easy and quick to file now, and I've cut out the step of shoving everything in my mail slot until I feel like filing, and I no longer have to sort through it again and again when looking for other important stuff in the mail slot.

There's more... but it will have to wait.


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