When you look at your paperwork filing system, how does it make you feel? If the first words that immediately come to mind are similar to euphoric, thrilled, and/or over-the-moon, congrats! I’m so happy for you because few people can say that. However, if the adjectives that immediately come to mind are similar to disgusted, overwhelmed, and/or stressed, then read on to learn the benefits of a paperwork purge. But before you do that, please know that you’re not alone. According to Organize 365®, 41% of males and 35% of females surveyed report that they had difficulty finding important papers in the last year.
There’s probably a very good reason why you feel that way. Do you have paperwork hanging around everywhere including in piles, bags, bins, and/or boxes throughout your home/office? Do you not have a filing system? Did you used to have a system but it go so convoluted that you abandoned it years ago and never corrected it?
What’s Your Why?
Whatever the reason(s), there’s no judgment here. I”m only here to help. Over the years, I’ve provided a multitude of paperwork decluttering tips which you can read about in 6 Easy Steps to Declutter your Overwhelming Paperwork Piles, How to Lose 10+ Pounds during National Organize Your Files Week! and Office Spring Decluttering: Top 10 Tips. In this month’s blog, I think it’s more important to start with one of the most essential first steps you can take. Determine your “why.” Why do you want to declutter your paperwork? How will you benefit?
- Is it to be able to put your hands on the documents you need within five minutes?
- Is it to eliminate the stress you feel whenever you look at your paperwork piles?
- Is it to save time, money, and energy?
I truly believe that when you start to think about the benefits and how your life can significantly improve, that could be the motivation you need to take the first step. So the purpose of this blog is to identify some of the benefits which will hopefully nudge you in the right direction.
12 BENEFITS OF PURGING PAPERWORK:
1. YOUR PHYSICAL WELL-BEING:
When organized, I truly believe that people sleep better at night because they’re not tossing and turning worrying about what ball they dropped or what fell through the cracks. Some speculate that it can even reduce physical ailments brought on by stress.
2. MORE ENERGY:
When you’re not weighed down emotionally and physically by your paperwork, you have extra energy to take seize new opportunities.
3. MORE SPACE:
Paperwork is the most common problem among my clients. It’s interesting to note that according to Organize 365®, 55% of millennials report that they have too much loose paper in their homes (mail, bills, notes, flyers, etc.)—more than any other generation. Whether you’re 20, 50, or 80 years old, by purging paperwork you no longer want/need, you’ll create more space. When you create more space, you can create/maintain a more organized paperwork filing system. Bottom line— a “home.”
4. EMOTIONAL BENEFITS:
Clutter can negatively impact your self-esteem and prevent you from going for your goals. When you purge your paperwork, you’ll feel more in control, thereby energizing you to do more and yes, maybe even achieve more.
5. IMPROVED REPUTATION:
If you have a system in place for handling incoming mail, events, commitments, meetings, etc., you have a better chance of being prepared and meeting deadlines and commitments. And when you’re prepared, your personal and professional reputations should benefit as well.
6. IMPROVED MINDSET:
Purging paperwork and reorganizing produces peace of mind and a better attitude. My clients have said they’ve transformed from feeling weighed down to confident.
7. MORE MONEY:
Harris Interactive reports 23 percent of adults say they pay bills late (and incur fees) because they lose them. When you have an efficient paperwork processing system in place, you’ll save money by reducing bank/credit card fees, you’ll have a system in place to track gift cards so you know where they are and use them before they expire.
8. MORE TIME:
Time spent filing, organizing, and searching for paper documents is time that could be spent doing things you love instead.
9. INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY/EFFICIENCY:
Working in a clean, workspace that’s free of paperwork clutter has been proven to improve productivity, efficiency, and mental clarity.
10. MORE LIFE:
Find your purpose. Rather than dealing with your paperwork, you can spend your time on activities that give your life meaning—and even make a difference in the lives of others.
11. IT’S A GIFT TO YOUR LOVED ONES:
If you don’t do it, who will? You can avoid burdening others with the dreaded task of decluttering your paperwork. Death cleaning can be even more burdensome if you wait until the end of your life. And if you outright refuse to do it, you are essentially forcing your family and friends into eventually doing the same job for you. If you don’t want to organize your things, why do you think your loved ones would want to?
12. YOUR LEGACY:
Once you’ve eliminated your paperwork clutter, you can more easily assess what you own, what’s of financial and sentimental value, and to whom you’d like to pass it on.
In closing, I have 2 very important next steps for you to take. One is in the form of a “don’t do” while the other is a “do.”
1. DON’T read this blog without taking related action and move on to the next thing you want/need to do today instead.
2. Do STOP! Take a few moments RIGHT NOW to not only think about your “why/s” but also to document it/them so you can reference them easily and often. Use whatever method works best for the way you make things happen in your life.
If you’re old-school, feel free to write them on a piece of paper and display it in a place you look at often—whether that’s on a piece of paper hanging on the front of your fridge or hanging on your bathroom mirror, etc.
If you’re a digital person, save it on your smartphone or as your computer wallpaper, etc.
Just do SOMETHING to remember WHY you want to downsize and reorganize your paperwork. No excuses allowed. As my friends over at Nike say, “Just do it!”
What the world really needs is more love and less paper work.Pearl Bailey
LET ME HELP YOU:
What type of paperwork is the most difficult for you to purge? Please comment below– I’d love to help!
Brenda Tringali, CPO® (Certified Professional Organizer)
Organizing | Productivity | Speaker
At Your Fingertips Organizing
Serving Greater Myrtle Beach, SC or “virtually” anywhere via video
Brenda Tringali is the owner of At Your Fingertips Organizing. She provides Speaking, Organizing & Productivity services to Workplace/Residential clients both in person in the greater Myrtle Beach, SC area & “virtually” anywhere else via video, phone, etc. Brenda is an active member of NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing professionals) and the former Chair of NAPOCares, NAPO’s Social Responsibility Committee.