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Take Control of Your Paper Clutter: A 7 Step Tutorial That Will Change Your Life!

Dec 04, 2020



In this masterclass, we take a deep dive into all things paper. The best part? You get to hear how the EXACT process I am going to share with you, changed my life! You will learn my signature 5 steps + 2 bonus steps that include: 1) calendar (scheduling) 2) clarity (visualizing exactly what you want your spaces to look like 3) collect (gather everything) 4) consider (determine what needs to be kept and what needs to go and the questions to ask 5) conclude (create a usable system to sort the items you keep into the right piles). BONUS STEPS: 6) consolidate (determine the time-tested method you will use to organize everything you have determined you will keep and 7) continue (know how you will maintain these processes.

***In addition to this detailed tutorial, I have created a FREE bonus for you to make this process easy and doable. You won't want to miss the treat at the end!!!


It was 8:30 in the morning. I hadn’t slept a wink and I don’t mean that I was in and out of a sleepy state, I mean, I literally hadn’t slept at all since hitting the pillow at 10pm the night before. And this wasn’t the first time. This was day 21 of no sleep. I would nap around 9;30am and get up around 11am but that was it. My body was wired, tired, and I was a wreck. I was at the depth of despair. The man I thought I may marry someday had let me know he had moved on and committed to another woman. I was unemployed and had just been laid off from my corporate job. I had attempted to take my boards once again and had failed yet again, leaving my dreams of moving on and practicing medicine now that the corporate world was over and these dreams were now disintegrating. My roommates were slowly moving out, one by one because I was completely miserable to be around and clearly unstable. It was the lowest I had ever been in my life. I was a failure. I had failed at relationships, failed at my job, failed at pursuing my dreams, and now I was failing at trying to get some sleep...apparently, I couldn’t even succeed at that. It felt like the weight of the world on my shoulders. I felt hopeless and was clearly stuck in an episode of major depression with no end in sight. I had never experienced this before. I called my parents on a regular basis asking what was wrong with me. 

My biggest hurdle each day was not just whether or not I could muster up the energy to shower. It was the thought that I needed to get the mail. The thought that the little box approximately the size of a fire log held uncertainty including notifications, bills I couldn’t pay, actions needed that I didn’t have the energy to address, and items that needed to be filed, and I didn’t have a system... In essence, the thought of going to the mailbox was overwhelming. 

And then my sister called and asked if there was anything she could do to help me. I explained my fear of paper and she offered to come over and provide some objective input. And sure enough, she did. My sister is to this day the queen of organization, responsibility, and preparedness. If anyone could help me out of my paper pile, it would be her. When she arrived, she tried to hold back her surprise when I brought out my paper grocery bags full of unopened mail. Inside these bags were the paper demons I was trying to avoid. Literally, four grocery bags full of the scary sealed envelopes that I couldn’t face for fear that it required me to do or pay something. And I couldn’t handle it. 


My sister was very methodical in her approach. She determined that it would be best to sort first. We dumped all the bags and created four piles: one for shredding. One for recycle. One for to file and one for processing/requiring some action. Looking at the pile of paperwork it was quite overwhelming; but, just as putting on your running shoes is the most difficult part of the run and once you start moving, it is motivating to keep moving as an object in motion remains in motion. Similarly, just creating piles was this catalyst I needed to create motion and motivation to keep going. The result of this venture which took about an hour or two was life-changing. Just feeling like I had a little control over the paper mounds, helped me discover a strength I didn’t know I had to do a little more. 


It wasn’t long after this that I started sleeping at night. Was it because I had paid all my bills and I was caught up on my action item list? No of course not. But just the sense that I had a little control back in my life because of the kind gesture my very organized sister helped me with, was enough to turn the tide from a deep sense of hopelessness to a knowledge that everything was going to be ok. Now you might think that it is crazy that I share with you my struggle with paper as the saving grace for my deep depression; however, it was this realization that truly changed my life and it is the reason that I am so passionate about helping you start your decluttering journey with this step. Once you gain control of the paper in your world, it will change your life forever. And I want you to have this same transformation. 


So in today’s episode, I am going to walk you through the exact method I use to gain control of the paper in my life. And while I haven’t perfected it, I have certainly come a long way, and I’m going to share with you what works for me and my clients so that you can take and customize these methods to work for you. 



The goal: 

To never wonder where a single piece of paper is, ever again! To always have clear work and home spaces, free from all paper clutter and debris. To maintain the organization of all vital documents. The method: 

  1. CALENDAR: With papers, plan on a 5 hour period to sort through all the papers in your home. For some folks who have a lot of papers, you may need five days. You can schedule a Saturday each week for 5 weeks if you need. Once you get started with the collecting phase, you may have a better idea as to how much time you need to sort and organize. 
  2. CLARITY: Once you have scheduled your first day of sorting paper, take 5 minutes to visualize your home free of unnecessary paper items. See your countertops and drop off areas clear and welcome friends and family into your clean space. See the filing methods you will create and the command center that makes your heart sing (Pinterest is great for this, by the way). Visualize your daily maintenance and sorting of the papers that come into the house and how peaceful your home feels without any paper noise distracting you. 
  3. COLLECT: Put all of your paper, magazines, junk mail, bills, manuals, receipts, etc. in a pile. 
  4. CONSIDER: With paper items, you really only need to determine if it is useful and if you need to keep it. Does keeping it serve a purpose or has it already served its purpose? For example, have you paid the bill? Do you have records of payments online? Do you really need to keep the statement? If you need to keep it, can you scan it for electronic records? 
  5. CONCLUDE: Now that you have determined everything you need to keep, you are going to categorize your items and make conclusions as to what category the papers go in. So for example, you will Sort by long term storage (need for a while like important records), short term storage (need for now), needs action now, recycle, and shred. We will get to short-term and long-term storage in this next section. 



Long-Term Storage: 

Papers that you wish to keep should be in two categories: 

  1. Needed for a limited time (receipts, things that need to be filed)  
  2. Must be kept long term (don't include mementos). The system that I absolutely love is called Freedom Filer (www.freedomfiler.com). I use a green section for current monthly statements, a section for a short-term need (i.e. insurance policies, which change every year, etc.), and a long-term vital record section (car maintenance, taxes, health records, etc.). These are all kept in ONE file box. One thing I do know is I do not keep monthly statements because I can access this information online. This saves on filing storage space.

Short-Term Storage: 

For incoming mail and paperwork, I have a small “command center” divided into four categories: 

  1. To be filed/scanned (statements I can’t get online, receipts, insurance policies, etc.
  2. To call or cancel, 
  3. To go out (bills, birthday cards), and 
  4. Processing (need action). 

What to toss: 

Toss manuals unless it is for a camera, computer, etc. If a warranty is expired, then get rid of it. Toss payslips or credit card statements once you check them with your records. Toss unread magazines and articles. Scan any receipt that you need to keep for personal or business and toss the rest. You can use an actual scanner or use an application on your phone such as Scannable that links to Evernote. Eliminate junk mail by subscribing to online services that will eliminate junk mail and catalogs (www.DMAchoice.org).


Shred any statements or paperwork with your personal information. You can keep a shredder near your command center and do this daily or you may want to schedule a time on a weekly basis. The idea is to keep up your momentum while you are sorting your paperwork. 


Scan any documents that you wish to keep digitally and will not need hard copies of. Just like shredding, scanning can be done daily or on a weekly basis. You will take these items from the “to be filed” section of your command center, described below. 


Mail and in-coming paperwork: 

  1. For incoming papers that need to be filed or dealt with, I have a small “command center” divided into the four categories listed above: to be filed/scanned, to call or cancel, to go out (bills, cards, etc.), and processing. 
  2. Immediately recycle junk mail. 
  3. File all receipts in your “to be filed/scanned” section or put them in the personal or business receipt location. 
  4. Minimize any subscriptions that you have as much as you possibly can. 
  5. Fill out forms at DMAchoice.org and unsubscribe from all junk mail and calling lists. 
  6. Schedule a time each year to clear out your files of all non-vital records (receipts, policies, etc.) that are no longer needed. 


There you have it! So in this post, we just did a deep dive into how you can attack your paperwork. For folks to be really successful at this, I have seen what works and what doesn’t’ work. Here is how you can make this process really work for you. 

It is really important that you get all of your tools in place first before you start this process. Get your freedom filer system or create one similar. Have a command center with your four categories. Schedule time each week to sort through your command center and address each category. Have time to call back those companies you need to, to file items, to shred, to mail bills, or fill out paperwork in the processing file. If it isn’t on your calendar you most likely will not do it. And make sure you have a daily system for sorting the incoming mail. You absolutely must contact the agencies I listed earlier to unsubscribe from catalogs, credit card promotions, and junk mail. This will seriously unburden you from a lot of paperwork. I get only an envelope or two every other day, now and it is so great!

So, here is what I want you to do for the next 30 days. Download the free 30 day decluttering guide I have created for you, down below! Each day you will Spend only 15 minutes a day on this and every day when you get the mail, sort your mail by category. If you follow this 30-Day challenge you will have your entire system in place!!!

I am so glad you took the time to read this post and hang out with me for Coffee and SimpliciTEA. This system could totally change your life and just the fact that you made it this far in this post, means you are one step closer to mastering the paper trail. So congratulations! Let me know in the comments below if you found this video useful and what tips you are going to implement right away! Please leave me a comment down below and let me know how this video helped you and what simpliciTEA videos you want to see me make in the future! Share this post with any of your friends that you know could use some help in gaining a little more control of paper. If you need help decluttering your entire home, you can check out the 5x5 decluttering method down below. 

I love you all so much and can’t wait to hear about your success and how this process has improved your overall sense of wellbeing as it did for me. I hope this information serves you.


Dr. Linné



To decrease your junk mail, register your information to www.DMAchoice.org

To get the best filing system I have found for both personal OR business, go to www.freedomfiler.com

***YOUR FREE 30-DAY PAPER DECLUTTERING CHALLENGE: https://www.journeytowardjoy.com/offers/NSoCLGEn

IF YOU NEED HELP DECLUTTERING, check out my 5x5 Decluttering Method: https://www.journeytowardjoy.com/offers/VeWqHUUu


Check out my MINDSET MASTERCLASS: https://www.journeytowardjoy.com/offers/yfPB9ZBD

FREE WARDROBE BASICS GUIDE: https://www.journeytowardjoy.com/offers/2jduzX2U

WANT TO TAKE THE MASTERCLASS YOU WISH YOU HAD IN SCHOOL? Check out The Lifestyle Design Experience (LDX): https://www.journeytowardjoy.com/ldx-sales-page-and-video


website: https://journeytowardjoy.com

e-mail: [email protected]

Instagram: @dr.linnelinder

Facebook: https://facebook.com/journeytowardjoy

DISCLAIMER: This post & video is designed for educational and/or informational, entertainment purposes only and should not be used in any other manner. This information is not intended to substitute informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider. A consultation with your health care professional is the proper method to address your health concerns. You are encouraged to consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. 


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