Looking for Joy in Papers

I was NOT joyful about cleaning out PAPERS in our home.  Step 1 is always to gather EVERYTHING from the category you’re working on in one place.  I have always kept files of stuff, but paper crap seems to end up everywhere, AMIRIGHT?!

Manuals from electronics and appliances shoved in drawers.  Receipts stuffed in purses, wallets and drawers.  Unopened and opened mail on the counter and in drawers and just…PAPERS. IN. EVERY. PLACE.

Again, I neglected to take pictures of the beginning piles.  I promise I will get better at that.

I basically threw everything away. From old stubs of paid electric bills to elementary school report cards.  Two trash bags stuffed to the brim.

The KonMari method says to keep one folder for “pending items” or things that need attention.  I felt we needed more separation than that, so I have 3 “active” folders in

folders for papers
Folders with papers deemed “active”.

a drawer in our kitchen downstairs. One for our recent homeowners insurance claim that isn’t quite wrapped up, one for incoming 2015 tax forms, and one for coupons. I suspect these folders will change for us depending on what we have going on.


Everything else I kept is upstairs in a cabinet in our home office.  I kept mortgage documents, health records, birth certificates and warranties.  That’s about it.

paper storageI was delighted to discover that all of our remaining papers AND office supplies now fit nicely in the cabinet under the printer.  And I haven’t even sorted through office supplies yet!

It is intriguing to me that each time I’ve tackled a category, the items I’ve chosen to keep seem to fit very naturally and perfectly into the storage space designated for them.  There is something very satisfying to me when things are neat and tidy; everything in it’s place.  Call me neurotic, but organization soothes me.

I’ll level with you here.  At first, it felt hard to pull a lesson from papers.  But now, as I reflect on this day of tidying, the papers-just like everything else-urge me to express gratitude to God.  I am thankful that we’ve had the means to pay the bills that were attached to the stubs I threw away; that we own a lovely home, whose documents I stored neatly away.  As I ponder old school records, I’m thankful that I was raised by parents who cared enough to put me in the schools they chose to put me in.  I’m grateful for the people I met and experiences I had along the way.  They made me who I am!

I cried throwing away the paper records I kept of my beloved cat Jo; the first pet of my

closet corner
A special spot, tucked away behind my closet door, just for Jo memories.

very own that I rescued when I moved out of my parent’s house.  She died on September 19th of last year and the wound of her passing is still raw.  But I had already pulled out papers of hers that I wanted to include in a scrapbook I made after she was gone.  I released the rest, thankful that sweet little comforting critter was snuggled up next to me for 10+ years.


As it turns out, the papers had a lot more emotion attached to them than I realized.  They were more than just the nuisance of clutter I’d deemed them before. Letting them go and reflecting on them now shows me they’ve been just as significant (if not more) than everything else I’ve straightened up thus-far.  Another of many little surprises.

I wonder what awaits me as I continue to plow through the rest of the items in our home!  I’m admittedly apprehensive because the next category is “miscellaneous,” AKA, EVERY OTHER THING IN THE HOUSE.  Please excuse me while I skip off to placate my anxiety by making a list of all the categories of things that fall under “miscellaneous”.

All I know right now is what’s next: Blu Rays, DVDs and CDs!


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