You want to get started organizing your paper but there are so many stacks in so many different places that you are just overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. So you do nothing, right??? I know how you feel! I’ve been there but it’s easier than you might think. I’ll help you get started.
The first thing to do is to get a big trash bag, an empty box or container. Surprise – the trash bag is for trash and the box is for papers that will need to be shredded. Now, go grab one of the smaller stacks of paper in the house and sit down and go through each piece, one at a time.
Pick each piece up, glance at it to see what it is and quickly decide if it’s trash – if so put it in the trash bag. If it is something that has your confidential information on it (like your Social Security number). Put those in the shred box. If it is something you need or want to keep put it in a pile to the side. That’s it. Don’t stop and read it all now or hesitate. If it’s something you need to read but haven’t gotten to it – be honest with yourself. You’ve probably forgotten about it and you won’t ever get around to reading it because it’s not that important to you. SO THROW IT AWAY!!
Depending on the size of that stack it should take you less than an hour to just do this basic sorting. If you are on a roll and motivated to do more, grab another stack and follow the same steps. Just don’t try to do so much that you get overwhelmed again and give up. Even an hour a day can make a difference.
When you’ve done enough for the first day, take your trash bag out to your trash. If your to be shredded box is not full put it away somewhere until you’re ready to do another stack. If it is full, put it somewhere safe but out of the way, like your garage, until you can take it to be shredded or have the time to do it yourself.
If you don’t have a large amount to be shredded you could invest in a shredder that shreds about 10-12 pages at a time for under $100 on Amazon. If you don’t want to spend the time to do that all by yourself you can take it to any Office Depot, Office Max or Staples. They have a shredding service and charge by the pound to do it for you. Be sure you save yourself some money and remove all the envelopes, paper clips and things without your confidential information before you take it in and they weigh it.
Then take the smaller stack that you need to keep and put it aside to work on after you’ve finished this basic start on all your paper.
And, that’s it!!! That’s how easy it is to get started organizing your papers. For more information on what to keep, shred or trash, check out my free reference sheet that can be downloaded as a PDF here on my website.