Declutter your filing with a gift from us

April 17, 2023
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Spring is officially here in the Northern Hemisphere—and other than dust bunnies, what needs MORE spring cleaning than papers and files?!

So to jumpstart your paper projects, reply and tell me your biggest issueand we’ll send YOU our perfect guide to creating a filing system that is easy to set up and even easier to maintain!

And if you’re thinking you’d like to start with something easy, just compare sorting through pieces of paper with tackling family heirlooms … which one seems less likely to make you cry?!

A great place to begin is with old owners’ manuals, catalogs, and junk mail—you’ll get a big win fast and it definitely doesn’t require the same effort as going through grandma’s china.

From there, here are 3 more tips to get you started:

Tip 1: Create (or Update) Your Filing System

People often get stuck with structure, thinking the filing system needs to be perfect before they even start. Not true.

The most important action you can take is figuring out what kinds of papers you need to store—and our free gift above will make that super easy.

And even better, since you don’t have to start from scratch, you can compare what you currently have to my suggestions and just revise as needed.

Also, by writing down or revising the categories of papers you’re keeping, you can easily reference back to your list so you use the same names for things consistently.

Decide if you’re going to call it CAR or AUTO and then stick with it.

And, whether you are organizing paper or digital files, the names are always the same. Keep your naming conventions simple and that will make filing easier and let you find what you need quickly.

As I’m sorting, I like to use simple baskets or trays to put Like with Like.

I also use these trays for active current work, and I only use filing cabinets for deep storage.

[Here’s a link to them on Amazon if you want to pick some up there.]

Tip 2: Get Rid of Everything You Don’t Need

Whether you’re downloading the bulk of your statements and documents these days or not, you have my permission AND my advice to let go of anything you don’t need to keep.

That could be old monthly statements, owners’ manuals and instructions for items you no longer own, catalogs, and especially junk mail. 

Please shred any junk mail that could be used to steal your identity and then recycle the bits along with unwanted catalogs, flyers, and circulars.

Also, please throw away any old envelopes that the mail came in—you do not need them!

Tip 3: Label Things Correctly & Keep What You Need 

Only file what you need.

If you don’t need a physical copy, keep the digital version and toss out the paper.

Of course, important documents like marriage licenses, birth and death certificates, military discharge papers, life insurance, and insurance estate planning documents should be kept forever. 

But most tax docs are now digital and the IRS here in the US accepts digital copies of most documents.

Best practices say you can let the supporting materials you used to calculate your taxes go after seven years, but keep your tax returns forever.

The only exception would be any capital improvements to real estate. You’ll need those until you sell the property.

And supporting loan documents should be kept until the loan is paid off—then keep the satisfaction letter you get from the bank once they record that the loan has been paid in full.

Speaking of taxes … if you’re in the US—don’t forget that Tax Day is coming up soon on Tuesday, April 18th!

P.S. If you are looking for more help decluttering your papers (and all the other clutter hotspots in your life!) I have something exciting to share! 

For the first time ever, my team has put together all the recordings and resources from EVERY De-Stress Your Mess Challenge ever … and we’re calling it the DYM Ultimate Collection! 

>> You can check it out now and get a head start on all of your decluttering—with over 80 days of Challenge training, you can pick and choose which hotspot to tackle first!

Get inspiration + motivation to declutter your home and your life with The Declutter Your Life Show podcast with tips on decluttering your home, your thoughts, and your life! You can listen to the podcast here or on YouTube here!

Here’s to more love and less stuff,


Declutter Your Life Podcast by Andrew Mellen. Available on iTunes!