As I’ve been going through other categories, I’ve come across paper: bills, tax information, family documents, and on, and on. As I saw them, I picked them up and put them in this pile in a corner of a room:
The above shot was from pretty early on in the process – by the time I actually got to start sorting the Paper category, there was a bit more. I also had to go digging in various filing cabinets around our house and in the basement to locate more papers. (I also suspect that there is more paper somewhere, but it will turn up eventually as I go through the remaining categories, I bet.)
Some of the types of Paper I sorted were:
- My childhood schoolwork and artwork
- Insurance information
- Paperwork from buying and selling our house
- Tax documents
- L’s schoolwork and artwork
- Instruction manuals
- Medical records
- Direct deposit stubs
- Car repair receipts & records
- Birth certificates, passports, Social Security cards, etc.
- Magazines I had been holding on to for no understandable reason
After I sorted everything into piles, I then went through and decided if we needed to keep it. You’ll want to check with a tax professional, but most people only need to keep 7 years of tax information. I also happily dumped about 15 manuals into the “recycle” pile. (They were taking up lots of space in our laundry room….) I did, of course, save some things, like personal documents, our living wills, etc. Those need to be stored in a safe deposit box at a bank (though we haven’t gotten that far yet – they are instead stored in a fire-safe lock box in the house).
Marie Kondo recommends scanning any truly important documents you have, hold on to what you must hold on to, set aside any mementos to go through later on, and recycle/shred anything you don’t need. I put the “to-shred” papers in a small plastic bin to take care of later (and just finally got it done, yay!).
Items I put aside to go through later (as part of the Memento category):
- Schoolwork and artwork (though my plan will be to scan or take photos of the ones I want to keep/remember, and only save a few hard copies of this kind of material, whether it’s mine or L’s)
- Programs and tickets from events
This process took me a bit less time than I expected. Since I had been collecting paper since beginning the KonMari process, it helped that I didn’t have as much work to do on the front-end – I was able to jump in pretty quickly. In total, it probably took me about 3 hours to go through it (I like to take my time and sometimes even watch tv while I’m sorting! Shhh, don’t tell Ms. Kondo…).
After Paper is komono which basically means “Miscellaneous.” This is one of the hardest categories, because it’s so big and broad. Komono includes all of your kitchen stuff (including food!), bathroom stuff, linens, kids’ toys and other kid items, craft supplies, gift wrap, tools, cleaning supplies, and on and on and on…. This is the category I’m currently mired in, though I’ve gotten some big chunks taken care of. Although KonMari should be done by categories, I did break out of that to work on the laundry room (though I don’t consider myself done, because I did not KonMari the cleaning supplies, some of which are currently stored in the laundry area). All that to say – I’m still working through this process and trying to find the best approach for me (and my family), so I’m making it work the best I can!
For those of you who might want to KonMari, I strongly urge you to read the book. (Not an affiliate link.) However, you should also consider supplementing the book with this handy-dandy checklist that was shared in a KonMari Facebook group.