Your 15 year old daughter calls you while you are at work in need of her social security card to apply for a summer job. With ease and confidence you guide her to locating it by telling her to go look in the top drawer of filing cabinet, in a blue folder with her name on it. She quickly responds with, “I’ve got it!”
Wouldn’t it be great to know that you are teaching your children how to be organized and what it looks like? ;nbsp
Or suppose it’s the end of the month and your supervisor wants your expense reports with receipts. You open your bottom left hand desk drawer and pull out the file folder labeled “receipts” and hand them to her and say, “I’ll email my report.” Wouldn’t it be great to know that you have been recording receipts and can pass along the expense report and get an expense check that afternoon? This is what having a functional filing system can do for you. It can take away the last minute stress of frantically hunting and duplicating important info.ration.
Paper clutter can be a monster that slowly creeps in and takes up residence. Unattended to it can pile up and take over an area quite quickly leaving an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness. While most of the clutter may be garbage, some may be valuable information that needs a home. After discarding what truly is trash, move forward with creating a permanent place to file away valuable information. Do you need a free standing filing cabinet or a mobile filing system such as a plastic filing container or something simple like an accordion?
The best way to determine how to handle your paperwork is to first determine how much information needs to be filed and work from there.
All too often people will purchase items to organize with and make their needs fit into what is purchased. That is backward! The very first step in organizing anything is to identify exactly what needs to be organized. A purchase would then follow. Don’t get the two steps reversed or you could end up with something that doesn’t work or you don’t need.
Tackle the paper clutter by sorting like things together which will probably require a large work area such as a table or even floor space. Just like trying to organize any other area, get rid of anything that is not useful.
A filing system may contain the following:
1. Personal information – birth certificates, passports, immunization records, social security cards, etc.
2. Insurance policies – medical, life, automobile, etc.
3. Medical – Have a file for every family member’s medical expenses.
4. Vehicles – car titles, maintenance records.
The End Goal
Keep in mind that the goal is to make a filing system that is functional and practical. A filing system is like a budget: it is only good when it is used and put into action. And like a budget, it serves as a means of freeing and setting boundaries, not restricting and creating more work.
If this feels overwhelming or complicated, contact a professional organizer to assist you in the process of creating a system designed just for you! Be wary of someone who comes to you already armed with an answer to everything, or has “the perfect system.” Look for someone who is willing to listen first, and move on from there.
Keep in mind that the goal is to make a filing system that is functional and practical. Click To Tweet
The paper monster can grow and overcome your living space before you even know it! Finding a system that works for you, and then maintaining it, is key to keeping that monster at bay!
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Kim has successfully helped create time and space for hundreds of people in Southwest Georgia. In 2005 she started Organize 4U with a vision to help individuals live clutter-free and productive lives. She organizes areas in the home, including pantries, attics, storage buildings and garages. Kim also custom designs and installs closet systems that enhance storage capacity. Her expertise also includes office space and systems. For organizational tips, find her on Facebook at Organize 4U. And you'll find lots of great organizational info, including before and after shots, on her website Organize4U.org.
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