When Laura and I got married, my aunt gave us a piece of advice: “Don’t lose the war on paper.”
Paper, she warned — paid bills, instruction manuals, report cards, Christmas cards, essays, and every other bit of words on tree fibre — will take over your entire house if you let it.
I’m sorry to say, we’re losing the war, not just on paper, but on all forms of clutter. Much of it is hidden away, stuffed in cupboards or cardboard boxes that we carted from our last house seven years ago.
The KonMari method may be too extreme for some. Luckily there are simpler methods.
I recently read about a decluttering technique on the Bee Organized with Pamela blog. I’ve modified it, and dubbed my version the 5B Method because it involves three boxes and two bags.
Here’s the technique:
- Declutter your house one room at a time. Pick one room and give yourself a one-week time limit to get it finished.
- Bring three boxes and two bags (black and blue) into the room. Go through everything in the room.
- Box 1 is for things that are staying in the room. If you can put an item in its proper place right away, do it. Otherwise, put it in the box.
- Box 2 is for things that you want to keep but don’t belong in this room.
- Box 3 is for things you don’t want that are still in good condition. These are things to give away or sell.
- Bag 1 is a black garbage bag. This is for anything broken or things that nobody would want.
- Bag 2 is a blue recycling bag. This is to get rid of all the paper clutter. (Don’t forget to shred documents with confidential health or financial information).
- Before the week is over, the three boxes should be empty, because you’ve put contents from the first two boxes in the right place and given away or sold the items in the third box. And the bags should be out of your house.
Some rooms may take more than a week. In that case, Pamela recommends breaking the room into smaller more manageable sections by dividing into halves or quarters.
Don’t get overwhelmed. Remember it’s like eating an elephant. You do it one bite at a time.
What about you? How are you managing the war on paper and other clutter? Please scroll down and share any tips in the comments!