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  1. Chris Cavanaugh says:

    How do I know what papers to keep short term, and what to keep long term? So far I keep everything which has caused the problem.
    Ok, Taxes-7 years, but want about things like past years insurance information? Receipts for things done in the houses we live in? Paid off loans? Help…being eaten by the paper monster

    1. I wouldn’t keep anything that has expired (current year insurance info only). I only keep receipts/warranty info for things that can’t be found online, and I wouldn’t keep anything from paid off loans! Most of the information from all of those things can be found online these days, and if you really feel compelled to keep them you can always scan them and save them to your computer so they aren’ taking up space in your home!

  2. Elizabeth C. says:

    Hello Amanda,
    Great, advise! I need help with organizing bills. How long after paying a bill should I keep the receipts and bill statements? This is the majority of my clutter. Also, junk mail. How do manage junk mail from being a clutter problem?



    1. Personally, I don’t keep it at all. It’s generally tracked online, so I see no reason to keep the paper version! Junk mail goes directly in the recycling bin before I even walk in the door from the mailbox!

      1. Consider putting junk mail in a shred bin instead of a recycle bin. Credit cards offers are junk but should be shredded so that information is not stolen. It costs millions to recover your stolen identity.

  3. Hi, your plan is helpful. Just a comment that the IRS asks us to keep tax records for seven years. I personally had the IRS notice an error from three years previously, and my records helped sort it out (I got some money back!). I don’t think two years is enough. Thanks for the other tips!

    1. Hi Rebecca – good note! The official recommendation is to keep them for 3 years, but up to 7 years if there are potential errors or issues. But, it’s good to know you got extra money, and that’s definitely a good reason to consider keeping more!

  4. HI. I am just starting mY decluttering journey. I was wandering do you keep a separate file/box for manuals for appliances/devices? And also once bills are paid do you hold onto any bills ? Thank you Theresa

    1. Hi Theresa! I do not – I typically don’t keep manuals around, because most related information can be found online these days. Many manufacturers have their manuals on their website for download! However, if there were one I wanted to keep, I would just add it to my “keep long term” folder. As for bills, no I do not. We do the vast majority of our bill paying online, and it’s easy to find bills and statements on any companies’ website, so there’s no need to keep them around.

  5. OOPS, sorry…wrong topic! You were discussing paperwork…and I mentioned clothes! I haven’t gotten to all the paperwork I have collected in the 3 month travels! (Going back to the U.S. in a few days!)

  6. Hi

    Loved your article and want to be part of the 30 day challenge and receive your ebook. I’m unable to subscribe though. Email is [email protected]

    1. Hi! I just checked and you’re on the list! You should have received an email. 🙂

  7. Hi, great video. I’m still unclear how to handle papers for work. I’m an author and have stacks of articles for research but I never am able to organize them. HELP !

    1. Hi Cynthia – I recommend purging as much of it as you’re able to. Once you’ve gotten rid of as much as you can, my favorite method for storing research/articles is in a binder! Just grab a thick one and you can organize the papers you need in the binder. Once you’re done with a particular set of research, I’d toss that to make room for more. 🙂

  8. Do you find that kids’ artwork builds up as well, especially when they’re little? I’ve been keeping the best bits in boxes as I’m hoping they’ll like looking through it when they’re older 😉

  9. hi amanda,

    i have looked at 20+ articles and all are pretty much the same. Action/File/Toss. But I need help with miscellaneous papers–reference/pending–I have several papers that are pending and reference or I just don’t know how to categorize them–bank/taxes/medical/kids school stuff-those are straightforward and basic, but can’t find anything about pending or reference. Do you have any suggestions for how to organize those types of papers?

    Thanks and very nice website!


    1. Hi Cyndi –

      Any pending papers went into the “keep: short-term” folder for me. We also keep a separate “taxes” file in addition to the categories Kondo recommends.

  10. I am currently on the ‘Paper’ stage of Marie Kondo’s The Magic of Tidying Up and came across your blog. I was also searching for a vertical file and ideas on desktop organization from others who also had read this book.

    Just as sparingly as the author relegated paper sorting, she only devoted a few pages to them in her book.

    Your photo of your finished central paper container puzzled me, however. It was not vertical, and the section ‘things to deal with,’ was quite small. Since it has been awhile now since your posting, I wanted to ask how is the final paper -working area working? 🙂

    1. Hi Marianne – I don’t know how well the photos actually convey the system I used here, but we’ve actually shifted just a bit since this post was written. We now organize our paper in a one-drawer file cabinet system and just use the drop-in folders for each category Kondo recommends. We also have a small metal box in our kitchen to drop important papers that come in the mail, etc. It works well for us, as long as we stay on top of it!

  11. OK, your paper pile is SO MUCH SMALLER than mine!! Ha ha! I am going to need like a 4-day, holiday weekend to deal with all of my paper at once.

    Thanks, though, for these helpful tips! I am going to find a weekend that I can tackle this monumental project. I was able to do the clothing and books pretty quickly; finished them within a few hours. Paper, though. Ugh! I am a complete hostage to paper.

    1. Hahaha I’ve always been big on throwing away papers as much as possible! 🙂 Good luck!!

  12. Hello Amanda,

    I hope that you are having a wonderful summer, Amanda as I send my request to you for the download package you created about the ways of the Konmari Method keeping our homes instead of them holding us hostage, lol. Would you be very kind to send it to me as I am not sure where some of my files went when I had to get a new laptop. Seems like socks to me, every once in a while one wanders off never to be found again, bwahahaha. I honestly do not mind the loss because I still have my photos of our life and that is what it really is all about, I reminded myself, firmly. Thank you kindly for doing this for those of us who had received them before.

    1. Hi Lindy! I just emailed you the link to re-download it! 🙂

  13. I am so with you on getting rid of all that paperwork. It just adds up so fast! The last time we did it we had papers covering not just our kitchen table but also the entire living room floor, lol. I am all about only keeping the bare minimum!

    1. Yeah, the first time we did it we had a ton too. Paper clutter is the absolute worst!