Share on Pinterest
BEFORE Stack of all my papers ready to be KonMari-ed

I don’t have to do this.

Organizing Papers with KonMari

This post contains affiliate links from which we will make a commission from your clicks and/or purchases.

“I don’t have to do this!” I yelled at the box.

And, it’s true, I don’t have to do this. I don’t have to clean my apartment. I don’t have to organize everything I own. I don’t have to throw anything away. I don’t have to throw everything away. I don’t have to hang my dresses in an ascending line. I don’t have to fold my underwear.

I don’t have to do this.

I don’t have to do any of this.


I started “KonMari”-ing my life about two weeks ago. After reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up I went through my clothes and shoes and purses and jewelry and filled nine garbage bags with things to get rid of. And then I went through all of my books and went from an overflowing bookcase and a half (plus a couple of piles stacked here and there) to less one bookcase worth.

I didn’t have to get rid of any of those things. I didn’t have to get rid of my clothes or my books or my shoes or my purses.

And, I have to say, my apartment doesn’t yet feel any lighter. Any different. Any tidier.

Those nine bags of clothes are still in my living room. Boxes of books are still in my living room. Piles of things to sort through are taking over my floor.

I’m surrounded by more clutter than ever.

And part of me keeps thinking, every day, with every item I hold in my hands, “I don’t have to get rid of this,” and, “I don’t have to get rid of any of this,” and, “I can just put it all back,” and, “I don’t have to do this.”

I don’t have to do this.

 

BEFORE Stack of all my papers ready to be KonMari-ed

BEFORE
Stack of all my papers ready to be KonMari-ed

 

After sorting through clothes and books, the next category to tidy in KonMari is papers.

Papers.

I had two file boxes packed full of papers stuffed away in my closet. I could never find anything in them because they were too full to slide the folders on the rail and every time I needed to add something I either crammed it in randomly or just left it on top of the box. Plus the two boxes were always stacked on top of one another making whichever was on the bottom unbearable to get to. I also had an overflowing basket that I kept my magazines and junk mail in. And, obviously, I had random loose pages that were stuffed here and there throughout the apartment.

Going through papers started out pretty easy. Do I really need to keep all of these mailings my financial company keeps sending me that I don’t even understand? No. Do I really need years and years worth of old pay stubs? No. Do I really need used tickets from every movie I ever saw? No. Do I really need every marked up copy of every story I wrote in college and grad school?

Do I really need every marked up copy of every story I wrote in college and grad school?


Do I really need every marked up copy of every story I wrote in college and grad school?

I had over half of a box full of every story I wrote in college and grad school, printed 10, 20 times, marked up by all my professors and my classmates. I was simultaneously embarrassed at the thought of even reading anything I wrote 15 years ago, haunted by the idea of keeping these papers I’ve barely glanced at in 15 years, and in a state of panic over the idea of tossing them.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up wants you to end up with no papers at all. But, since that’s not always practical, Marie Kondo recommends having just two folders: things to keep and things to be dealt with.

And what does she say about old grad school papers? Papers you haven’t looked at in 15 years? Papers you probably aren’t actually going to look at any time soon?

What do you think?

After going through all the rest of the papers, after recycling years worth of credit card statements and Broadway programs and random magazine pages, I sat down with the half-full box of school papers.

I started with the easy ones, quickly tossing out my notes from editing classes and technical writing classes. And then I got to a folder from my grad school travel writing class, found the pieces marked up by my professor, and put everything else in the toss pile.

And then did the same with humor writing.

And then I sat there, for a moment, took those papers out of the trash pile, put them back in the folders, put the folders back in the box, stood up and yelled, “I don’t have to do this!”

And then I walked away.

 

DURING The clear box contains everything I already sorted and was keeping. The pink box was full of my old college and grad school papers I still needed to sort through.

DURING
The clear box contains everything I already sorted and was keeping. The pink box was full of my old college and grad school papers I still needed to sort through.

 

It took me a few more days to get up the nerve to sit down again with my papers.

I had left half a trash pile, a garbage bag, a stack of sorted papers, empty folders, and that half full box strewn across my living room floor.

I knew I had to deal with it, no matter the outcome. I couldn’t just leave it.

With those few days of clarity between us, I sat down, took a deep breathe, and started sorting once again.

The editing folders, the technical folders, stayed in the trash. For everything else, I kept the copies that my professor had marked up. I kept the copies from that one girl who always wrote “you’re my hero!” at the top of the page. I kept the copies from that one guy who always challenged my triteness (rightfully so).

And I got rid of all of the rest.


And I think I’m OK with that.

 

AFTER All the papers I am keeping. More than KonMari would suggest but less than one box.

AFTER
All the papers I am keeping. More than KonMari would suggest but less than one box.

 

I ended up with quite a bit more than two folders worth of papers. I kept programs from grade school dance recitals. I kept diplomas. I kept my three jury duty certificates in case I ever need to prove that I’ve already served on three juries so please don’t make me serve on another one. And I have two folders of school papers: one for college and one for grad school. And, while I’m still too embarrassed to read any of it, It does bring me joy to keep them.

And it gives me even greater joy that I no longer have two boxes of papers stacked on top of one another, that I can easily get to those papers, that the box I do have has room the breathe, that I can move the folders across the rail.

That my apartment is, sort of, starting to feel tidy.


Buy a copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up on Amazon in hardcover or Kindle format.

 

 

 

Pin this post:

Organizing Papers with KonMari | The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Organizing Papers with KonMari | The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

 

 

Learn on Skillshare

Affiliate Link

Did you enjoy this post? Share it!


Share on Pinterest
Share with your friends










Submit

Enjoy this post? Check these out:

Post a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.