Hey friends! I’m back chatting today about my journey towards a more minimalist lifestyle. Last week I talked about the simple act of emptying your purse at the end of the day. I loved hearing your comments about this idea! Lots of you agreed that the concept sounds a little crazy, but you could imagine how it would help keep your purse free from junk. Let’s take care of our purses, people. :)
My next journey along the path of Kon-Marie-ing our apartment was paper. Kondo writes several chapters in her book all about paper. I honestly think she’s a tad bit on the crazy-wonky side but when you really sit down and think about her antics, they totally make sense.
I work from home and have never really paid any attention to organizing my desk. Some days I spend most of my work day here. Sitting in chaos never leads to a fully productive day– there are distractions everywhere. Not only distractions, but you also just feel heavy. Heavy from all the files and papers and books and magazines and bills and everything you keep but haven’t touched in months.
Here’s my desk before. Notice all the paper. A bulletin board covered in random pictures and papers, excessive frames above the desk, a basket full of papers behind my work laptop, and a crammed work space. It felt very chaotic.
I bought the grey vertical file system you see in the picture below, thinking it would help me be more organized, but all it did was increase the amount of papers in my sight line. Note the excessive amount of binders and boxes of shipments for work. So cluttered!!
Marie Kondo recommends an interesting method for sorting papers. She basically says to get rid of almost every piece of paper you own except for essentials. This sounded crazy to me at first, considering the amount of paper I had stacked up everywhere. I had saved probably three years of receipts that no longer mattered, old bills, random fliers and handouts for work, and even papers from college (that was almost 5 yrs ago…) like my RD exam studying materials and old assignments. Eeeek!
Kondo suggests sorting your papers into the following three categories:
- Papers you will almost rarely ever need except for very special occasions (passports, social security card, name change documents, car titles, marriage licenses, etc)
- Papers you will likely need only once or twice a year (tax records, insurance or other important work papers)
- Papers that you will need on a semi-regular basis (current projects, items that need to be done in the next month)
She also recommends that you store these papers in clear, plastic file folders. I bought a pack from Staples and put my passport and other personal documents in one, my tax records in the other, and my semi-regular papers in the green folder pictured below. It has 10 dividers on the inside. I thought I’d be getting into these more often, but honestly, it’s been a month since I sorted and I’ve only opened my tax record folder once and haven’t touched the others.
She also recommends getting a vertical organizer to hold ONLY one thing: papers that need to be dealt with immediately. Mail, bills, receipts, etc, all go here. I bought a vertical organizer and I have two manila folders: one for personal and one for work.
I got rid of TWO trash bags full of old papers. Man, that felt good. These folders contain the only papers left in my whole apartment.
After I spent hours sorting paper, I thought I deserved a reward so I took a special trip to Target to buy some redecorating supplies. Many dollars later…
…and here’s the after!
I took down the cluttered bulletin board and the random frames on the right wall of my space. Instead, I hung these adorable watercolor paintings I found at Target that had a bunch of fruits, plants, a bicycle and a pineapple, along with an inspirational quote “Live What You Love” (so true) and a cutesy clock.
In the picture below, you can see my new white vertical magazine organizer. This hold my two files (personal and work) of deal-with-immediately papers.
Other Target haul items included a few fake succulents, a new pen cup and a grey candle. It’s all about the ambiance, people.
I also bought a new white, clean lamp. I had been using my pink lamp for probably ten years and I wanted something that emitted clean, bright, white light over my work space. It has a pretty marble base, which makes me so happy when I look at it.
When I come into the office to start my day, I no longer feel drowned by papers. Instead, I feel inspired by the clean and organized space.
It’s been about a month — and it still looks this way!! Never thought that could be accomplished since I’m such a messy person. But there’s something about minimalism that makes everything so much easier. No longer am I dealing with cluttering papers, books, binders, useless stuff that I wasn’t even using on a regular basis. My brain also feels less crammed.
We hold onto so much that we don’t need. Ain’t that the truth for so many areas in life.
Hi! I’m Emily, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and self-taught intuitive chef. I firmly believe that cooking is the simplest and most important step we can take to improve our minds and bodies and build healthier communities. Join me and let’s bring food back to the kitchen!