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Blog: Can We Have Some Order Here?
Spring Cleaning Your File Cabinet

Spring cleaning isn't just for home -- and it isn't just for spring, either! Your filing system needs an occasional deep-clean, just like your kitchen cabinets and closets. So let's get to it!

Clear Out The Clutter

Your filing system is a lot like your junk drawer. Every time you find something that you think might be useful, you stash it away. Some of those things come in handy later on -- others just take up space. But every once in a while, you have to clear the decks and start fresh with your storage. Now, here's your chance!

Empty every folder out of your file drawer and start by asking yourself if that category is still meaningful and relevant to your life. Completed projects, old client files, and obsolete reference topics may be able to go away. You can then sort through each "keeper" folder and clean out unnecessary and outdated paperwork. Remember, only current and relevant documents should reside in your active files. If you don't use it all the time but might possibly need to refer to that information again in the future, place the item in your archive files. If not, and there is no legal reason for you to keep it, toss or shred.

A New Coat Of Paint

While you've got your file system emptied, take a minute to look at your supplies and see if they pass muster. Are your folders getting old and raggedy, coming apart at the seams and losing their grip on your hanging file rails? Why not replace them with new, clean files. Are your labels a mess? Too many cross-outs and write-overs make it hard to find the folder you need -- so get some fresh labels and neatly type or print the correct title for each file. Are your filing cabinets dysfunctional, with dented and hard-to-open drawers? If you have to fight with your cabinet every time you need a document, it's time to consider a replacement.

Also examine your naming convention and make sure that your files are labeled in a way that makes sense. The goal is to start each file with the name of the larger category to which it belongs (ex: utilities), then add on the descriptor that lets you know exactly what paperwork that folder contains (ex: utilities -- water or utilities -- electric), moving from general to more specific. Color-coding your files and/or labels is another great way to distinguish categories of files from one another.

Put It All Back In Order

Finally, it's time to get each document back in its home. Once you have all of your file folders labeled and placed in the drawer, check around your home or office to see if there are any loose piles of paper sitting out -- on a desk, shelf, countertop, or credenza (don't forget to look for homeless papers stuffed into drawers or boxes, as well!) Go through each stack and clear out any junk -- papers that you thought might be useful, but now turn out the be outdated, obsolete, or no longer relevant to your interests.

Once you've trimmed the piles down to only what you know you want to keep (and will use in the future), file those papers one-by-one in your existing categories. Don't just ask yourself where it should go, but also where you would LOOK for it when you need that document down the road. And if you don't have an appropriate category (or subcategory) for that item, create a new file.

By the time you are done, every piece of paper should have a home and be easy to locate whenever you need it. If you missed spring this year, don't worry -- you can clean up your paper management act any time you need to. Don't put it off until next spring!

read the original post of this blog

posted on: 7/8/2010 11:30:00 AM by Ramona Creel
category: General Organizing Tips

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by cna training on 7/15/2010 4:41:09 AM:

found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

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Can We Have Some Order Here?

by Ramona Creel

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About Ramona:

I have been a Professional Organizer for more than 10 years, I am a NAPO Golden Circle member, and I was the original founder of OnlineOrganizing. I have worked one-on-one with scores of clients and have trained dozens of newbie organizers as they got started in the industry. I provide both hands-on and virtual coaching to help clients improve their organizing skills and simplify their lives. I invite you to visit my website at http://www.RamonaCreel.com, and I challenge you to find one new idea that you can put into practice in your life, to help you become better organized, starting TODAY! I am passionate about coaching folks toward a more balanced, productive, and enjoyable life -- and I firmly believe that if I can do it, so can you!

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