The amount of paper in one household can be staggering. It can be in practically every room of the house and leads to mounds of clutter. It's also admittedly one of the most tedious and boring categories to sort through. I would recommend you enlist the help of a professional for this category alone if I haven't already sold you on the benefits.
Take a tour through your space and just think of all the paper in your home. The notes on the fridge. The pile of junk mail in the kitchen. Your children's homework and school correspondence. Bills, manuals , receipts, newspaper and magazine clippings, the list is endless and I can imagine as you've toured your space you've uncovered many places in your home where paper has taken a hold of your space.
I used to deal with paper in a very traditional way. I would file, file, file. But the problem with this is that our space to file into is fixed and the amount of paper coming in is increasing all the time. Soon enough I had boxes of paper to be shredded, a busting file cabinet and a mountain of paper waiting to filed once the file cabinet magically emptied. This was my moment of paper paralysis.
It created friction at times because something would come up and finding something would be impossible. "But I thought you were organized?" would be a common phrase when the mountain of paper couldn't be navigated. It had to change and it finally did when I read Marie Kondo's book the life-changing magic of tidying up.
In her book Marie says that all papers fall into one of three categories; currently in use, needed for a limited time, and keep it forever. This quick sort method is a great way to deal with the pile of paper. When sorting with a client I also include two additional piles, to be shredded and recycle. I will never be shocked by the amount of time that we tend to hang onto to paper well past it's service to us. Like bills and receipts from 10+ years ago, the manual for the appliance that we no longer own, the meticulously torn out and saved, (but never read), articles and recipes from magazines.
In this highly accessible digital age so much of what we've been conditioned to keep can now be found online and we can instantly free up space in our homes. For example the manuals for appliances, restaurant take out menus and recipes clipped from magazines can all be found online. Bills can be received via email eliminating the need to even have the paper come into our homes.
One thing to evaluate as you address your paper in your space is how you will effectively and efficiently deal with paper coming into you home going forward. Create the most simplistic system as possible and focus on not just the 3 categories of paper as outlined by Marie Kondo, but keep your paper in one spot to avoid having it spread to other parts of your home. For example I immediately deal with a pile of incoming papers even before I take my coat off upon entry. I sort it into Marie's 3 piles right at my front entrance and put it all in it's home or recycle/shred right away. Never going into a temporary spot that can lead to a paper mountain.
Tackling my own paper was really one of most freeing aspects of my own tidying journey. Maybe not one that spoke to my need to merchandise, but what it did do was clear up visual and mental space that allows me to merchandise at will. If your paper is paralyzing you I would love to connect with you and work on solutions that will help you overcome it once and forever!