As a professional organizer, I work with a lot of clients who struggle with anxiety and a sense of heaviness related to piles of paper. They often feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and out of control.
Through the years of purging piles and clearing clutter with my clients, it has become very clear to me that the root cause of this issue is what I have coined as Delayed Decision Disorder (DDD). DDD is not a valid medical term, but it is the root cause of every pile of paper, every piece of unprocessed mail, every cluttered closet, and every folder or bin of “miscellaneous”stuff.
So how do you get DDD and, more importantly, how do you cure it?
Often piles start with the inner conversation that says, “Oh, I’ll just do this later,” or “I’m too busy right now” or we simply get side-tracked and turn our focus elsewhere. Understand this, DDD is not the occasional procrastination that we all fall victim to from time to time. It is the continual delaying of decisions and half-finished projects accumulating over extended periods of time. What happens with delayed decisions as it relates to paper is the creation of a “piling system” when what we really long for is an efficient “filing system.”
So, are you afflicted with DDD?
Symptoms: Paper piles, cluttered countertops and flat surfaces, unprocessed bills, unfiled receipts, junk mail, newspapers, magazines, business cards, school work, bulging filing cabinets, expired coupons, manuals and warranties for things you no longer own
Causes: Procrastination, loss of focus, inadequate or non-existent systems, uncompleted tasks, not knowing what to keep and what to toss out, not having proper supplies or adequate space
Remedies: Physical therapy (as in sorting, purging, MAKING decisions, and filing) and a commitment to stick with the project through completion
Possible side effects: Reclaimed time previously wasted looking for lost items, uncluttered flat surfaces, money saved by eliminating late fees and penalties, increased peace of mind knowing right where things are, feeling empowered and more in control
“Sometimes you don’t feel the weight of something you’ve been carrying until you feel the weight of its release.” ~Joshua Becker
5 Tips for Reducing Paper Clutter
1. Discard unwanted mail and paper before it enters your home or office.
2. Remove yourself from junk mail lists and cancel subscriptions to magazines and catalogs that you do not read. Contact originators to be removed from lists.
3. Create an inbox or tray for papers that need to be processed.
4. Create four file folders and label them: To Do, To File, To Read, To Others. Optional folders: To Scan, To Shred. Keep file folders in plain sight for easy access; I recommend a vertical desktop file folder sorter for this purpose.
5. In a timely manner, separate paper into the four or six categories listed in #4 and then process them according to the associated task.
In summary, getting organized and clearing piles and clutter requires a commitment to go through the process that takes you from chaos to calm. That process includes: Making timely decisions, setting up systems to process paperwork effectively, eliminating the unnecessary, and committing the time necessary to clear and then maintain paperwork, and becoming very intentional about what you bring into your home or office.
©2014 Simple Organized Solutions
Andrea Brundage is a Professional Organizer, Public Speaker, Writer, and Bringer of Calm. Her business, Simple Organized Solutions, serves residential and corporate clients. She serves clients in-person or in virtual environments; that alone sets her apart from others. Subscribe to her “Chaos Into Calm” newsletter and receive a FREE copy of “A-Z Organizing Tips” a full-spectrum of easy-to-implement organizational tips that will kick-start or support your organizing projects. To get regular doses of inspiration and tips, subscribe to Andrea’s blog, connect on Facebook and her Business Page, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and on Houzz.com, where she was recently awarded “Best of Houzz 2015” for her excellent Customer Service and client testimonials.