We’re all so busy we don’t want to take time to go through old paper files to clear out what’s no longer needed. I’m with you on that one! But there comes a time when we just don’t have any more room and we’re tired of having so many papers.
I reached that point again last Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for being busy, for wonderful clients, and for the opportunity to have served three years on the NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals) national board. I am not, however, thankful that all of these generate a lot of paper, or that I’m an information junkie and a visual person. This means I have a lot of paper—a lot more than I have space for.
What are the Choices?
- Toss all the paper. But I can’t do that. I need to look at each paper. Some I may be required to keep. The others need to be sorted for shredding or recycling.
- Continue to hold onto the paper, which means if something happens to me, someone else will have to deal with it. I don’t wish that on anyone!
- Do what I spend two days doing every two to three years: purge my old files!
Why purge? Here are five reasons you might want to purge your paper files:
- You’re fed up with the feeling that you’re overrun with papers.
- Papers are accumulating on multiple horizontal surfaces, including the floor, and you can’t find anything.
- You’ll find money. I found three $25 gift cards! (For clients, I’ve found checks for thousands of dollars.)
- You’ll find interesting things—I enjoyed reading my old Myers-Briggs, Strong-Campbell, RightPath, and Predictive Index assessments.
- You’ll be embarrassed if someone has to go through all your papers because something happens to you.
Paper purging is a project you’re probably not interested in doing. How do I know you’re not interested? Most of my clients hate to work on papers!
What to do First?
It depends on your situation. Do you have file cabinets filled with old files? Do you have boxes of papers with a mishmash in each? Do you have sorted stacks of paper on horizontal surfaces? All of these?
Click here for some tips on tackling your paper purge project.
Trust me—you will feel so much better when you get that paper out of your office or home. After two days of working at paper purging myself, I had two boxes of shredding and four bags of recycling to go out. My paper files were once again organized, and my office floor was clear!
After a paper purge, I’m ready to tackle my next big project because I have all my papers together!
Copyright 2018 Susan Kousek
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Susan Kousek is a productivity consultant and speaker.
To find out more about her programs and services, visit www.BalancedSpaces.com or call 703-742-9179.