This is one of the declutter tasks that regularly comes up in my practical coaching sessions. It’s something people mean to do; they know it will make them feel better, but it also feels like such a chore and therefore gets put off.

These days, there is less paperwork to declutter on the whole, but where do you start with what you have?

Dealing with paperwork.

  1. As with all decluttering (link to one of the other features), it’s all in the preparation. What do you store important documents in? Do you have an appropriate file? If not, purchase one. I suggest a concertina file that’s easy to store and can be divided into sections.
  2. Allocate time – don’t do this when you are tired. This can be a good task to do whilst watching something or listening to something.
  3. Get all your paperwork in front of you. Pile into categories e.g. insurance documents, utility bills, mortgage information.
  4. As a general rule of thumb, keep… utility bills and bank statements for one year, and tax records for seven years. Other documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, you obviously need to keep indefinitely.
  5. Once you’ve sorted out what needs to be kept, file away what’s left in whatever secure storage you have. Everything else SHRED.

Staying on top of it!

The art of staying on top of paperwork, whether it be actual paper or digital copies, is regularly setting aside time to “file it.” If you can allocate a set hour a week or fortnightly (depending on the amount you get) it’s far easier to keep your records in check. That way they they don’t become overwhelming and metaphorically (or literally!) pile up on the kitchen work top.

The digital declutter.

Every now and again, a digital declutter is great for our wellbeing. I’m not talking about the things that fall into the categories discussed above, but our social media feeds.

  • Do you follow people that no longer bring you joy?
  • Are some of the posts no longer relevant to where you are now?
  • Who could you unfollow to make room for more interesting and uplifting content?

Clearing out your social media of those things and people who no longer serve you well can feel really cathartic. Maybe it’s a case of snoozing or muting, as well as unfollowing some accounts.

If you clear the space of the stuff that pulls you down, you can then enjoy seeking out the stuff that lifts you up, that interests you, motivates and inspires you.

This is another task that has unexpected mental health benefits – and who doesn’t love being on top of their clutter?