The Dumbest Thing Ever – Tales of a Paper Hoarder

In yesterday’s blog I talked about the need to do some spring cleaning to help us de-clutter, organize, and clean-up. And I can honestly say that I have been living by my own words and working like crazy to get through the piles of clutter and bring order back to the chaos.

As I went through what felt to be the thousandth stack of papers the only think I could think was, “How in the heck did I ever let things get this bad?! And why the heck did I not just throw things away at the time?!” It was ridiculous how many stack I had. There were all kinds of useless random papers that served absolutely no purpose whatsoever with absolutely no reason to keep them, yet for some unexplainable reason I had decided at the time to throw them into stacks of other useless papers on my desk instead of throwing them away. I had literally collected more and more useless paperwork to the point that my desk had become totally unusable. It was covered in piles of paper.

As I sat going through each pile, feeding my paper shredder the meal of a lifetime I realized that things had to change. I can no longer be a paper hoarder!  I had to figure out why I had let things get so bad…here’s what I realized:

It’s funny how hard it can feel to throw papers away at the time you get them…it’s almost as if throwing them away right then and there would be saying that the information shared with you on those pages had been meaningless to you…like a slap in the face to whoever took the time to print them off and hand them to you…so as I sit and ponder why the heck I’ve kept so many piles of papers I’m recognizing that it’s been my way of politely showing that I cared…which sitting here now I realize is THE DUMBEST THING EVER!

So yeah…I’m definitely over that…from now on it is right to the paper shredder for anything I don’t need to keep. Not because I don’t care, but because I never, ever, and I do mean EVER, want to have to go through this many piles of paper in my life again!


~Amy Rees Anderson


  • Jane says:

    I had to laugh at this one. I don’t have any trouble throwing paper away or shredding it most of the time. But the things I keep are the open ended pieces of mail. “what if I want to order that or what if I want to donate to that organization but the worst papers are the things I print myself because I need to respond or learn about or read that”. Then there are the cards and letters I get that are personal. I save some cards, but eventually have to through the others away. My house is less than 900 square feet and that’s great for discouraging the paper hoarding.

  • Mustafa says:

    I believe many people including myself are guilty of the same.I too keep papers mostly A$ papers from the printer so I can “someday” use the other side of the paper before I throw it away.Problem is I accumulate far more than I need as rough papers.Believe I will do as you say.Discard immediately.Very good principle

  • Debbie Beck says:

    I think we can all agree Amy. We’ve all been there and it is a feeling of overwhelming clutter. Many years ago I taught a clas titled “The Paper Chase System”, to help people handle the papers that come in and out of the house. One of the most important files of organization we talked about is the round file. Meaning the garbage can. You only handle things once after they come on your desk. Make a decision, record the information on your calendar, file it under topics of 1- Upcoming Events, 2-Things to Do , 3-Bills, 4-School papers, 5-medical, or whatever other category that you specifically feel will accommodate your life. It will give you an amazing feeling of being in CONTROL of your desk.

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