Friday, January 2, 2015

The Paper Purge Begins

I mentioned in my kick off post yesterday that my big goal this month is to work on purging paper from our files. We have a metal two drawer file cabinet, a file drawer in our desk and two paper file boxes that hold all of our paper. I'm convinced that we could get down to nearly half that amount of paper. I have a few reasons I'm making this project a priority.

I have not deeply purged paper for at least three years. And I'm pretty sure that three years ago, I didn't dig really deep. I know I didn't touch any of the Army files my husband has. And he has nearly a full file drawer full of Army paper work.

We expect to move this year. I specifically remember during our last move that we pulled over half the files to transport with us for security reasons. That is a pain! We will still have to move with files, but one box would be better than two or three, right?

It's cold outside this month. The weather does make a difference about when I'm up for tackling this task. There are no outside tasks or spring cleaning competing with my time. I snuggle in with a blanket and put a file on my lap and a bag for recycling right nearby. And then I put in a movie to make it less boring!!

We did begin the paper purge. The Army files are up first because they take up a large amount of space in our filing cabinet. See?

Our bottom file drawer

Those at the back are NOT Army files

No Army files here

Army files here
We only worked on the three stacks on the left. The two on the right were already somewhat organized. We will still get to them, but expect them to take less time. Maybe. My husband did most of the work in deciding what could stay and what could go. I did the shredding!

Let me just say the Army, and likely the military as a whole, likes to copy things. There were 10 plus copies of move orders. We even had two files that were nearly identical. We did take time to make sure that we had one complete file and shredded the duplicates. And then...we found more files that were likely copies of the first two we had just worked on! Ugh. So, that is when my husband was ready to stop. We will get to them again later this month. And I hate to say that I think some of the items in that blue folder may be more copies of some of the very same documents!!!!! Ack. 

In the end we had three bags of shredded paper, just from Army files. The few papers that didn't have my husband's social security number did get tossed into the recycle bin instead of facing the shredder. That saved me some time!

Some of the shredded papers

Paper is definitely NOT my favorite item to work on. I am pleased with our progress. I managed to spend some time on decluttering on the first day of the year, so I can cross one day of 31 day off my list.

Do you own a paper shredder? Do you keep paper in a filing cabinet? Any paper decluttering tips for me?


  1. I haven't actively been dealing with paper clutter for about a month now. I really should get back to it soon. I do try and deal with the mail as soon as we get it, put recycling away etc. I've also switched to paperless statements for a few things.

    1. Dealing with the mail as it comes in is a great first line of paper defense. I do this too! And I think paperless statements have eliminated much of what is even stored in our file cabinet.

  2. I wish we had a shredder! Not often do we get things that need to be destroyed, but it would save us the mess of "oh, where's the collection of papers to take up to your parent's house for the burn pile?" - which as been growing for the past two years, and has never been burned!
    I am in charge of the "filing" in our home though. The Mister's bills are organized on his shelf and it is, as of the last shelf-decluttering, my job to organize this stuff. He is horrendous at it! All my bills are in my filing cabinet in plastic file folders (with the string closure). Luckily, neither collection takes up much space!

    1. I do like having a shredder...this one we have is OLD. I hope it makes it through this month of the paper purge!!

      Have you thought of putting a reminder on the calendar for the next you KNOW you will be at the parents? Could you store the burn pile in your car until the next visit? Just ideas to get that paper burned!! Some banks offer free shredding events, so keep your eyes peeled for that option, too.