Spark Joy by Tackling Paper Clutter the KonMari Way

Marie Kondo is an organizing expert and author of four books including, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up. In 2015 she was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people. She currently has her own reality show on Netflix, aptly entitled, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.

Marie Kondo’s method of tidying up is called the KonMari way. The ultimate goal is to keep only those items that “spark joy” in one’s life. Of course, in real life we need to keep a lot more items that don’t necessarily spark joy — old income tax returns spring to mind — nevertheless, there is a lot to be learned from the KonMari method, especially when it comes to tackling paper clutter. Here are some paper-management tips inspired by the KonMari way.

Gather Everything

The first step is to gather all the paper in your home or office. If you have everything in front of you, you won’t waste time moving from one room to the other trying to sift through and making double the effort. For an office environment, conduct this process in the same room as your filing cabinets, if you have them.


Next, make piles of paper according to categories that are relevant to you. One category would be papers that you need to keep for historical records (like those pesky old tax returns). Another category would be papers that require your immediate attention, like a utility bill. Another category might be papers that you need to hold onto for the short term, like store receipts you want to keep to match up to your credit card bill. Make any other categories that you might need, too. Finally, make another pile of papers that can be discarded or shredded.


The last step is to find a permanent spot for all those categories. Out of sight is better, such as inside those filing cabinets. Other ideas to store the daily paper that enters your home or office include those plastic storage units with letter-sized drawers, a decorative rectangular basket with a lid, or vertical file folder racks that sit on a desk.

Shred or Discard

Take the pile of papers ready for the shredder and get them ready to leave your home or office forever. Choose a shredding company such as Tristar, with an onsite location where you can get immediate satisfaction by dropping off your paper to have it shredded. Tristar also offers a mobile service, swinging by your home or office once or on a schedule to pick up documents for secure and confidential shredding. 

There’s a lot to be said for keeping papers managed and under control, but when you’re in business, it’s definitely hard to keep up with the “paper dragon.” Implement the KonMari way as much as possible, and partner with Tristar to keep your life paper clutter-free.

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