Why You Feel That Way
Whether your clutter takes the form of books, piles of paper, gadgets, clothing or all of the above, when you strip it down to its essence, what it's doing is surrounding you. It's enveloping you. It's providing you with a warm, cozy wrapper, a form of shelter from the cold, critical, difficult outside world.
The problem is—and it's a problem shared by people with every type of addiction—that this clutter doesn't bring the feelings of safety and security that you're looking for. So, you pick up some more, and then some more. Then all of a sudden you're surrounded with so much stuff that you can't think straight anymore. How do I know? I know because you and I live in America, and because in America, more is better. In America, the person who dies with the most stuff wins. Except really, she loses.
How to Get Over It
You probably think you have no idea how to sort and organize your finances. But, in fact, you have a very good model. You know how to clean a closet. And you are going to use the very same skills to get your financial paperwork in tip-top shape. I call the following steps the Four Ds.
Dump. If you clean a closet like I do, the first thing you do is pull everything off the racks and toss it onto your bed or the floor. Do the same with your bills and paperwork. Don't forget to go through your briefcases, tote bags, desktop and pocketbooks for any straggling receipts or bills.
Distribute. Take the statement and bills out of their envelopes. Open them to full size, and staple the pages of each month's statement together so they don't get lost. Then put the paperwork into the proper folders, oldest bills first, so that when you open a folder the newest statement is on top.
Next: The cheat sheet to staying organized