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Dear Jo the Clutterbuster:

It's 3 months into 2010 and I have abandoned my New Year's resolution to get organized and to make space for what's important. - in my home and in my life.

I don't want another year to go by without finding a way to de-clutter my life.

Is there any hope for people like me?


Resolution Recidivist

What the IRS Wants You To Keep

Dear Jo the Clutterbuster:

It's tax time again. I can't decide which pieces of paper are important, which can be discarded, and which ones I need to retain.

I'm afraid I will be audited, won't have the correct paper back up and then I'll go to jail .

What exactly does the IRS want me to keep?


Terrified by Taxes

Creating a Paper Management System for Your Home: Part 1

Dear Jo the Clutterbuster:

Every January, I promise myself I will finally get my bills, files and other paperwork organized. But after 15 minutes surrounded by my piles and bags, I give up, leave the office and shut the door and continue to live in chaos.

What will it take to conquer this clutter?

Yours truly,

Buried in Paper

Creating A Paper Management System, Step 2

Managing the backlog or why did I keep that?

Frequently, it is the backlog of paper that prevents us from creating a functioning paper management system. Instead of trying to manage the backlog while creating a new file system (an impossible task), it's easier to separate the process into three parts and tackle each one separately over an extended period of time:

Sorting the paper backlog
Creating Archives
Creating a Personal File System

Maybe Mother Was Right

Dear Jo the Clutterbuster:

Sometimes I feel like my life consists of picking up, cleaning up and following up after everyone in my family. I remember that the house In which I grew up  was always neat and tidy. How did my Mom do it?

Other than hiring a maid, what can I do to get others to help tame the clutter chaos?


Fed up

Creating a Paper Management System for Your Home: Step 3

Dear Jo the Clutter Buster:

It seemed to take forever to go through all that backlog of paper (and that was the first sort?) How can I be sure  that  the piles of paper won't return?.

Yours truly:
Invaded by Paper

Creating a Paper Management System – Step 4

Creating Archives

Before you start:

Identify a space in the basement, garage, attic that will serve as the Archives. The Archives are intended for items that you do not need to access on a frequent basis or will keep for a specified amount of time. There should be adequate space for multiple boxes. I do not recommend renting storage space. It is costly and often encourages us to hold onto more paper than we need.

Creating a Personal Filing System

Dear Jo the Clutterbuster:

I am surrounded by a fortress  of  piles. I never can find what I want when I need it.  I know I need a filing system, but how do I create one that works for me  and that I will actually use?


Pile-r not file-r

Creating a Personalized Filing System - Current

To create a workable Personal Filing System, you will identify a general category and then sub categories of related papers. The most common mistake when setting up any filing system is to create a separate file folder for every piece of paper rather than group similar information.

To avoid creating too many file folders, think of your Personalized Filing System as a Chest of Drawers.

Make Space: Decisions

Dear Jo the Clutterbuster:

I survived tax time, and Mother's Day. I now stop paper before it enters my house and created a basic paper management system .
Summer vacation looms. I'd like to take advantage of the longer days and the extra available bodies to clear out some clutter and make space for what's important.

But, I don't think I can climb these mountains of  mess.


Avoiding An Avalanche