After strongly advising my fellow Stuffoholic to do away with all her grief-inducing paperwork, I thought I should probably tackle my own mountains of Pointless Paper. This week, it was time to face my old nemesis, The Drawer That Must Never be Opened (cue dramatic music.)
Brimful of random paper accumulated over the course of twenty years or so, this drawer is only occasionally rummaged through for a missing receipt. Excavating the contents of its murky depths was not a job for the faint of heart..
I set myself a clear mission for each and every item in that drawer; establish a reason for keeping it, or it was being recycled. Sometimes this was easy- why would I keep pay slips from 2013, notifications of NHS appointments long gone or birth announcements for friends’ children who are now old enough to have babies of their own?
Pages from ancient magazines were also easily chuckable. I had saved a pattern to knit my own cakes, apparently on the off chance I’d learn to knit. And the 35 Things to do Before You Turn 35 was now 20 years too late (fyi, I’ve only done 10 of those things.)
Decluttering mavens often suggest tackling heaps of magazines by saving the important or useful articles and chucking the rest. I’d like to revise this advice a little… NEVER save an article, a picture, a list, an advert, or anything from a magazine. You will never go back to this piece of paper, which will simply clutter your space for the next 20 years. Save yourself some time and effort- recycle those magazines now. Better, still don’t buy them in the first place. All of that stuff’s online, you know.
Then there were the utterly pointless items, such as these unuseable store cards and gift vouchers. Random keys, odd buttons, unidentifiable plastic thingummies, rubber bands… why do we hang on to these things as if they are valuable? (my fellow Stuffoholic will gleefully remind me I’ve yet to tackle the kitchen drawer which contains all these things, and more!)
So, what went?
- 88 items shredded & composted (including those old payslips, dental receipts from 10 years ago, and a failed driving test notification.)
- 72 bits of cardboard recycled (42 of which were old birthday, Christmas and mother’s day cards.)
- 211 pieces of paper recycled (…magazine pages, old newsletters, places to go leaflets, instruction manuals, many receipts, yoga instructions…)
What was left?
Fifty recipes cut from magazines have gone in a recipe folder, to be tackled at a later date. Thirty one bookmarks were put to one side, to pop in the books I give away.
And in The Drawer That Now Opens, I replaced a small heap of paper… things which I want to see again (letters from old friends, greetings cards from my children, photos, artwork and a small folder of very recent receipts & guarantees.) Never again will I need to dive through years of accumulated paper. Nor feel a failure for not working out how to apply false eyelashes by the age of 35.