Home Organization Project 5

Home Organization Weekly Project from Go GingahmSince we began this project of organizing and “de-cluttering” a different area of our house every week, we’ve been on the same page about what needs doing. This week was different because we organized our “home office.” Because both Brad and I work from home, our office files and work are here.

Without pointing any fingers, one of us is better about keeping our work files organized. One of us keeps every single document that’s been sent – and doesn’t get rid of it. Ever.

This was a painful week for one of us. There was a lot of high-fiving when we were getting rid of coats we hadn’t worn in years and making those kitchen drawers work better by eliminating items we didn’t use. It was easy to rid ourselves of those ’80s sweaters – which we got cash for because they’re “vintage.” But work files? Don’t mess with the work files.

Home Organization Week # 5: Work files

Home Organization Weekly Project with Go Gingham
Shred, recycle or keep – 3 choices – and then we’re done.

These don’t have to be work at home files – they could be any files you have at home. Here’s what we did:

  1. Take drawers out of the cabinet – they’re heavy but go for it! Take them out of the cabinet and head to the living room or another nice spot. Turn on music, have an adult beverage (well, depending on how much you have to do you may want to wait until you’re done) and get busy sorting.
  2. Take every single file out of their hanging folders and review what’s in there.
  3. Remove any documents or papers that need shredding, put those in one pile.
  4. Remove documents that don’t need shredding and place in recycling container. (We had a shuttle with paper bags getting documents from the file to the recycling bin.)
  5. Put files back in drawer that are “active” files and what needs to be accessible.
  6. Files that aren’t “active” but need to be kept should go in another location. This could be a basement or coat closet or other not too accessible spot.
  7. Replace the file drawers in file cabinet.
  8. Going forward – keep less or opt out more. Or at least try. It makes life easier when you have less stuff.
Home Organization Weekly Project with Go Gingham
This was painful – and yet the fire was pretty in our living room.

It was painful to go through all of these – for both of us, for different reasons – but we stuck with it. If you don’t have a partner to do these with, find an objective, honest friend who would be willing to trade services. Then, when you’re done, celebrate with an adult drink!

Are you a person who holds onto work papers longer than you should? Or shorter than you should?

Go Gingham related links:

A little home office in our dining room
Green living: once a month garbage collection
Green and frugal living – the sweet spot where green and frugal meet
Our home office is called the “Lincoln Bedroom” – find out why!

Home Organization in 52 weeks from Go Gingham

 More related links:

Need guidelines for how long to keep records and documents? Check out the “Recordkeeping” page from the IRS. They’ve got the rules – because they make them!

6 thoughts on “Home Organization Project 5

  1. I can get rid of ANYthing easier than I can some paperwork. Before we moved from one state to another two months ago, I managed to purge some useless papers (my 10-to-15-years-old grad and undergrad notes) and I promise I feel like a different person! Best advice I can give: just do it. You will be so glad you finally did!


    1. Vanessa, moving has a way of doing that, doesn’t it? I’m sure I have college books around that I could part with, too, and I had my 25-year college reunion last year!

      Best advice I can give: just do it. You will be so glad you finally did!

      This is great advice. Thank you, Vanessa!! 🙂


  2. This is a job I need to do but hate doing it. Bleah.

    Enjoyed your pictures of your fire. I love having a “real” fireplace and not a gas one–except it is a little messy. And … I got a kick out of the hole in your husband’s sock–we have a lot of that going on around here–thanks for keeping it real (although maybe unintentionally!).


    1. Kris, I saw the sock after I took the pictures but he’s famous for wearing items until they are threadbare so it’s definitely true life!
      I can’t stand this job with my husband – he wants to keep it all and I want to purge it all. We get to a breaking point – like we did when we ran out of space in the office.
      Get going on your filing!! 🙂 You’ll be so glad when you’re done.


  3. I’ve taught so many classes on food and nutrition, knitting/crocheting, 4-H, home food storage, Solar Cooking, etc., for SOOOOO many years, I have piles and files filled with information and class handouts. It’s gotten somewhat better since owning computers, but I’m still a hard-copy person for anything I want to get my hands on quickly. BUT, I too have been going through files and purging. I’m using “toss” pile of paper to make homemade paper for gift cards, greeting cards, wrapping paper, decorative arts applications…. An even better use than the recycling bin.

    As an aside, “a stitch in time saves nine” when it comes to darning socks. I’m probably the only person I know who still has darning floss for socks – and uses it. Darning floss for socks was once was a common household item and I occasionally will find it at thrift stores and estate sales to add to my stash. Otherwise, I will use 6-strand embroidery floss and yarn. I just re-knitted heels into wool boot socks I knitted 25-years ago. They are good-to-go another 25.


    1. Karen,
      You have such a wealthy of knowledge that I’m sure you could teach classes without any handouts or hard copies! But, I agree with you that a hard copy of certain items beats a computer.
      I will keep your tip in mind for darning socks with embroidery floss/yarn. Whenever I find mending wool at an estate sale, I buy it because I do fix sweater holes. Athletic socks haven’t been worth fixing – they seem to just wear out everywhere! They do make excellent covers for the ends of ladders – keeps the ladder from scratching the surface it leans against.
      Thanks, Karen! You should have a blog yourself… 🙂


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