It has been said that people that create piles, rather than files, are more creative. I am not sure if that is true, but most certainly, I am a piler. I create piles of papers everywhere. With the advent of computers, I was sure that the amount of papers would decrease but that doesn’t seem to be happening. I still tend to accumulate more and more paper each day.
I have tried, many times, to create file systems for my papers and honestly, I am quite good at creating the systems. When I am finished there is a place for everything and we are once again able to see tabletops and counters. The problem is not in creating the systems, but in keeping up with them. Invariably, the piles of papers will begin to build once again, and although I continually tell myself that I should file them into my neat and highly organized system, it never seems to happen.
Throughout the years, I have come up with two basic strategies to deal with the overflowing paper:
The first is to somewhat contain my pile of papers. I allow one space in my house to be cluttered and full of piles of various papers. This allows me to keep my pile and still know, relatively, where everything is. All papers are contained in one small area and even if I need to search, the search is pretty simple. When this pile begins to overtake other areas of the house, I will go through the pile. Usually, since I have waited so long to go through the papers I am pleasantly surprised to see that most of the papers have absolutely no relevancy any longer and most can be tossed into the trash. This normally cuts the paper pile by at least one half. The rest of the papers will then be distributed to their rightful place: a box that I can hide out of the way. These are papers that I think I might need in the future. My small area is now clear and ready for me to begin a new pile.
The second strategy deals specifically with my box of papers. When the box is full, I begin with the same routine, by finding out that most of these papers no longer are needed and I throw many of them out. The rest remain in the box. At the end of the year, I can close up the box, put the date on the top and keep it in storage. The box contains things like bank statements, tax forms, or other important information that came up during the year. If I am ambitious, I might even make a list on the top of the box. If I should need any information, I need to know about when it happened and I can open that box to look for it.
These work for me, they may not work for you. This plan does stop me from feeling guilty. I have accepted that I am a piler and that is okay. I have found a way to work around it and keep the piles contained. The pile is, for the most part, out of the way so that when company comes it may look slightly messy but is not unsightly.
For those other piers out there, accept who you are. There is no reason for you to feel guilty or to make excuses for your behavior. There are enough of us pilers around that we may just be the hidden majority. When looking on the internet, I found such groups as “Pilers Anonymous.” So relax, find a system that works for you and move on to something that is more important in your life than filing papers.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.