ADHD Paper Clutter – What to Keep and What to Toss

by | Oct 29, 2015 | Organizing ADHD | 0 comments

ADHD paper clutterPaper clutter everywhere!

Piles on your desk. Your kitchen counter. In your briefcase. It’s in files and folders and maybe even laying around the car.

Yes, much of that paper is necessary. You need your registration and insurance certificate in the car. You need your client files at work.

The real ADHD paper clutter challenge is knowing what to keep and what to toss, so it doesn’t grow out of control making you wonder if you’re a hoarder

But that’s the rub isn’t it? Wondering if you should keep it. Honestly, most people keep paper because they’re afraid they may need it someday. They’re afraid to toss things because they just don’t know what they’ll need.

Let’s tackle that.

How to Clear ADHD Paper Clutter

Here is a list of simple questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you need to keep a piece of paper:

  • How will I use this information? Can you honestly answer how you’ll use what’s on that paper? (“I might need it sometime” is not a good reason to keep anything.) Will you need it for filing your taxes or for any legal reason?
  • What is the worst possible thing that would happen if I didn’t have this piece of paper? Would you fail an IRS audit? Not collect your lottery winnings? If nothing dire would happen if you got rid of the piece of paper, get rid of it!
  • Is the information still current? Did the seminar or party already happen? Is it old news? The grocery ads from three weeks ago? Unless you’re an historian, get rid of it!
  • Can I get the information somewhere else? I started organizing people in the dark ages before the Internet. In those days we used elaborate file systems to store reference information. Thankfully we don’t have to do that anymore. With so much information a simple Google search away, you can get rid of most reference information.
  • Do I need to keep the whole thing?  If it’s something you really will use in a magazine or newspaper cut out just what you need and recycle the rest.

If you still can’t decide, follow Dana’s Discard Dilemma Rules:

  • When in doubt, save legal and tax information.
  • When in doubt, toss resource information.

These questions will go a long way toward helping you clear your ADHD paper clutter, but only if you put them to work.

Where to start? Pick a small pile of paper from a cluttered area. Look at each piece of paper and ask the questions above. Before you know it your ADHD paper clutter will be significantly reduced.

Need More Help Tackling Paper Clutter?

Consider the Essential Home Filing System Blueprint.

home filing system blueprintA failing file system is a sure source of frustrating paper clutter. How can you put papers away when you can’t figure out where they belong?

Paper clutter makes life harder than it has to be. It increases stress and distracts you. Clutter melts your focus. It makes you feel bad about yourself. Disorganized files cause family feuds and frustration.

I’ve written the Essential Home Filing System Blueprint to be an easy guide to help you create a simple to use file system to help you get rid of annoying paper clutter. Click here to learn more.



  1. 5 Tips for an ADHD-Friendly Filing System - Dana Rayburn ADHD Coach - […] last week’s ADHD Success we talked about how to clear paper clutter. Today I want to add filing system…

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