Since 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
These don’t have to be work at home files – they could be any files you have at home. Here’s what we did:
- 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.
- Take every single file out of their hanging folders and review what’s in there.
- Remove any documents or papers that need shredding, put those in one pile.
- 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.)
- Put files back in drawer that are “active” files and what needs to be accessible.
- 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.
- Replace the file drawers in file cabinet.
- Going forward – keep less or opt out more. Or at least try. It makes life easier when you have less stuff.
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!
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!