By now, most have read or at least heard about Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The general idea is that you declutter by category, rather than physical area. The categories Kondo recommends are clothing, books, paper, and miscellaneous. Miscellaneous items can be further categorized into kitchen things, bathroom things, toys, crafting supplies, etc. Kondo’s method has been nicknamed “the Konmari method”.

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Kondo’s method has taken the world by storm, influencing people to declutter their belongings by asking a simple question. Does it spark joy? I have read the book, and watched the Netflix series. The mantra has stuck with me, though I do not thank my belongings for their service before discarding them. Even before reading Kondo’s book, I had a minimalistic mindset. I do not like clutter or excessive possessions. If you have fewer belongings, you spend less time cleaning, organizing, and maintaining.

Over the past few days, I have been concentrating on using the Konmari method on my paper clutter. I have kept a lot of documents over the years. It was un-necessary. Although my filing cabinet was organized, it was full of papers that I would never look at or need.

Some of the treasures I found in my filing cabinet were:

  • Paystubs from my current job, dating back to 2010
  • Paystubs from my previous job, in a nice little plastic grocery bag
  • Cell phone contracts from my previous two carriers
  • Banking and investment statements (can be found online)
  • Childcare invoices (in addition to receipts)
  • Numerous, years-old bills that have been paid
  • Old documents from health insurance policies I no longer hold
  • Instruction manuals for baby items I no longer possess
  • Contracts for gyms I am no longer a member of
  • Lease from my apartment (moved out in 2011)
  • Student loan documentation (paid off in 2009)

My university acceptance letter is the one thing I was going to shred, but changed my mind. I have my degree on my wall, which represents the end of my university career. I thought it was nice to also keep the paper which started it.

Admittedly, I could probably Konmari more papers, but I have filled two recycling bags so far with paper shreds. I could probably fit all of my files into a single, compact file box and get rid of my ugly metal filing cabinet. Less paper and ugly furniture? I call that a win.

I cut the paper clutter with Konmari