no more clutter logo no more clutter newsletter for July/August 2008

Take Advantage of Sue's summer special offer:

Book a session with Sue between 21st July and 31st August and get a special summer bargain - a 3 hour decluttering session for only £120 (usual price £150). Phone Sue on 020-7616-9465 or email to reserve your session.


After running no more clutter for over 6 years, I know that most people struggle with their paperwork. Piles of papers accumulate all over the house, in the bathroom, shoved under the bed and cluttering up kitchen surfaces. Assorted carrier bags and cardboard boxes are crammed full of junk mail, magazines, unopened bank statements and a random selection of important documents.

If this sounds like you, your daily life will be full of unnecessary frustrations. It will take you forever to locate a receipt for your faulty watch or the latest prescription for your glasses. I know it's tempting to keep putting it off but the longer the procrastination goes on the more daunting the task will be.

Phase one - Decluttering

In this newsletter I'm going to look at the decluttering phase of paperwork and in the next (due out September) I will tackle phase two - getting papers organised including storage and filing.

The decluttering phase is all about what to keep and what to get rid of. You can't fine tune your papers until you've cleared all the dross that is getting in the way.

  • Be realistic - you will need to commit both time and energy to tackling your paperwork.
  • Go through your place and gather up all your homeless papers including magazines, newspapers. money off coupons, and unopened mail. Take them to one spot - ideally to an office if you have one. If not find somewhere you have room to spread out.
  • Do a quick sort of newspapers and magazines - recycle all the dated stuff (decent magazines can go to friends or doctor's waiting rooms) and make a reading pile of those you genuinely want to look at. Don't buy any more until this pile is cleared. In a couple of weeks see if the pile has gone down. If not perhaps you're not being honest about how much time you're really got to plough through old Sunday supplements.
  • Urgent action. Find a container like a box or a filing tray for anything you come across that needs immediate action like unpaid bills. Keep this in a prominent place and set aside time in your diary to deal with this as soon as possible.
  • Write down all the key categories like household bills, health, car, pensions etc. for paperwork you want to keep. There will also be more fun areas like holidays, places to go and other interests.
  • There are several ways you can proceed now - if you have an existing filing cabinet (with space!) you can file as you go. If not just write out the category headings and either use boxes (plastic or cardboard or old filing trays if you have them) or simply use the floor or even the bed to spread out the labels. Now do a broad sweep and put the papers you want to keep in the appropriate category. At the end of the session gather all the papers for each category into a folder, box file, whatever you have to hand and label them clearly.
  • Remember, at this stage, we're focusing on wide categories, not on detail. You'll fine-tune your filing and sort out storage for your papers in the next phase - more details in the next newsletter. So for now...
  • Stuff you don't want to keep. Get a receptacle or bag for each of the following - shredding, recycling and bin for non-paper rubbish you come across.
  • Once you're finished you'll end up with a much lighter load and at least know where your gas bills are! Don't be frustrated that things aren't yet in perfect order - it's a process and you're on your way.
  • You're now ready for the organising phase - but you'll have to wait for the next newsletter. For a sneak preview, have a look at the paperwork section, Chapter 6, in my book no more clutter or Chapter 12 in Hoarder to Order.

If you have found a book or website that has inspired you or have a tip to share I'd love to hear from you. Do drop me an email with your experience (here)

Don't forget, there is no shame in needing help with your paperwork - it is tough and time-consuming so do take advantage of my summer offer and finally get to grips with it.

Hopefully we'll have a great summer but do use the less fantastic summer days to carve out some decluttering time

July/August tip

Is it global warming, or is it a traditional English summer in a new outfit? This summer has seen tropical-style cloudbursts in the south of England. One day last week more rain fell in London than in the whole of an average July! Check out my July/August tip for what to do the next time going outside isn't an option.

Enjoy your summer! And if it's your winter, enjoy that too.


Contact details

Sue Kay
no more clutter
14A New Quebec St.
London, W1H 7RS,
t: 020-7616-9465
m: 07974-076-675

Have a great sort out this spring!



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