It’s the first month of a new year, so do you have the urge to purge? I’m not talking about having bulimia or anorexia. Although losing weight is the number one resolution of all time, getting organized comes in a close second.
“Getting organized” means different things to different people. That’s because each of us has different needs and a different tolerance for disorganization. Therefore, I am going to suggest an important place for you to start, a place which applies to almost everyone.
And that brings us back to the word “purge.” In organizing language, purge implies ‘to remove.’ You remove unwanted holiday decorations. You may purge your garage of unwanted items. You may decide to move things from one room as they can be of better use in another room. But have you also thought about purging your file drawers and file folders? Now is the time of year to do so if you haven’t already. The very end or the very beginning of the year is the optimal time to do so.
Further, purging can mean archive, throw away, give away, or donate. Since we are focusing on papers, purging will mean throw away or archive.
What papers can be thrown away?
Some of the following come down to comfort level, so in general, anything that is outdated, a duplicate or un-useful can be tossed. If you have a manual or a warranty but no longer own the item, toss. If you planned on returning an item but the deadline has passed, toss the receipt. Unless the item has high value, then keep the receipt.
What should you archive?
Papers you may need to refer to in the unforeseen future, but not often. Tax returns are a good example. Archiving them means to take them out of your everyday filing drawer and move them to another drawer, box or room where they will be accessible in the future, but not in the way daily.
Dealing with “Fear of Purging:”
Too many people don’t purge their files for fear of throwing out something needed in the future, and because they are uncomfortable knowing how to decide what that may or may not be. Think about this. There is almost nothing that cannot be replaced. The only thing that can’t be replaced would be something that is one of a kind or sentimental. If you go through your papers as I am instructing, you won’t throw something like that out by mistake.
So the Key is:
Go through each file and each paper within them. Never just throw out the entire contents of a file without looking at each paper.
Short on Time?
This need not be an all or nothing chore. You don’t have to do the entire activity in one sitting. Break it down into manageable chunks. Do a few minutes a day. Or do a few files a day. Or do the fattest files first. Or plan a weekend to do a 2-hour or more block of time. See what works best for your time and motivation level.
There is a Reward:
Think of this as a treasure hunt. You may find something valuable. The goal is to open up space in your file drawer to make room for this year’s incoming papers. It also makes it easier to find what you’ve filed when searching for something. There is no need to replace your file folders. Just keeping using them.
Help is here!
But if you still feel uncomfortable making the decisions about what to keep and for how long, call us at Time-Savers Professional Organizing Services, Inc., 954-252-7511 or contact us by e-mail at email@example.com. We are skilled at helping you purge your files! Start your new year off right.
Happy New Year and Happy Organizing!