Throughout my Tidying Up process, almost since I first decided I would take the purge plunge, I have dreaded the “Papers” category. Honestly, using the “Does this spark joy?” method didn’t seem to have much application to papers… I feel like this is fairly obvious, right? Most of us don’t keep papers because they bring joy to our lives, we keep them because we’re trying to be responsible adults! Now, there are some cases where people hang on to a surplus of papers out of some obsessive compulsive disorder, but I didn’t feel like I was one of those people. In fact, quite the opposite. I’m more likely to throw out papers that I should be keeping!
I also dreaded this category because Marie Kondo’s advice on how to deal with it is summed up in this statement:
There is nothing more annoying than papers. Throw them all away, unless they are absolutely necessary.
After purging the previous categories, I’d say that this is my first real roadblock with the KonMari method, but I don’t think that it’s really Kondo’s fault. Kondo is from Japan, so the papers necessary for her clients in Japan are different than the expectations here in the US, or for any other country.
So what did I do? I Google-d it, just like any sane person would do.
I landed on Suze Orman’s site, and followed her guidelines for the papers that I had at my disposal…hee hee, disposal…
A n y w a y… I didn’t really have that many papers, so by following Suze’s advice, I was able to feel good about what I was able to discard. I’d have to admit, that in itself sparked a bit of joy! Most of my “joy” came from knowing that I hadn’t been discarding too much all along to be honest, I’m definitely not the paper hoarder.
I also went through my magazines, which I had left out during my Books category purge by mistake. This was a bit more difficult. I ended up discarding ALL OF THEM. They had served their purpose. The hardest to rid myself of were my lovely Country Living UK magazines… When I lived in Scotland, I had a subscription and absolutely loved it. I looked through them multiple times, and even tore out enough pages to fill 3 binders. I brought the binders home to the US, and even paid the extra money to have 2 years of the magazine delivered to Kansas. It helped me to feel more connected to the life that I had left behind, and it was a hard decision to let them go. I still haven’t been back to Scotland, and somehow felt like I needed to keep these magazines to remind me how important it is to return.
What really helped was a minimalism video by Light by Coco where she said that when you discard things from an important era in your life, it doesn’t mean that you are betraying the memories. It doesn’t lessen the experience because the experience and memories are separate from any material things. That was so helpful! I think about Scotland everyday, and I didn’t need the magazines to remind me.
So, as I used to say in Scotland, sin agad e! There you have it! Papers, done. Next stop, Hobby supplies! Eeek!