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It’s day #2 of the newest challenge on our site – the 30-day organization challenge.
Yesterday’s task was so super helpful and motivating in our home. So now we are moving on to what might possibly be the most dreadful, daunting task of the whole challenge – but hey, look at it this way – we are getting the painful stuff done first and then it is DONE!
Are you ready for today’s challenge?
Day #2 Challenge – Take Care of Your Files and Piles
Yesterday, we cleaned off and out the desks. Today, we are going to utilize the desk/home office space for what it is used for and get those piles off counters, tables, shelves and other nooks and crannies that papers seem to find a resting place on.
But first, if you have files or a filing system in your home (whether small or large) it’s time to clean that out first.
We actually have this large plastic file bin that we have literally had for the whole duration of our marriage – 15 years. This clunky thing is still a great file box for us!
We’ve actually been using the same file folders for at least 8 of those years (the last time we moved). It works for us, so I don’t see any need to change it. But even finding a box, covering it in contact paper and using the paper folders is a great, DIY, easy file box.
So either create a file box or clean out your current filing system.
We clean it out every once in a while as there is no need to keep everything forever. There are certain bills, documents and papers that have recommended timelines as laid out by the US government.
You can reference this great “quick chart” for easy reference when deciding what to keep, what to file, what to toss.
Also, here is a secondary chart for the other remaining common household documents as per the recommendation of CrediCards.com:
You can also head to the Managing Household Records official government site to see details and recommendations on your specific documents.
Now, this is our rotating file, but our “VIP’s” – you know – “Very Important Papers” are not filed here. We have a more secure place for these documents. Most of them are the “forever” documents listed above. We recommend that the VIP’s are stored separately.
Once you have cleaned out your files, it’s time to collect the piles. Collect the piles of papers around your home and sort them into 4 (or 5) piles: toss, shred, file, needs attention. The 5th optional pile might be long-term stored memories or storage. If you have a bunch of cute kids papers or other misc. that really doesn’t need to be filed, but you want to keep it, plan where it can go. In our family, we have memory bins for those special papers.
I am also a homeschool mom, I feel like I have so many piles because I keep so many odd and end school resources that could become a great tool down the road; it can honestly be quite overwhelming. I have a few different bins in our school room that are sorted by subject for me to just toss in those odds and ends.
So plan your piles accordingly if you have more to keep beyond the “to file” papers.
Once you have those 4 (5ish) piles, the first two are quite easy to handle. If you don’t have a shredder, give a pair of scissors (kid safe) and the papers to your toddler. Tell them to go crazy. 🙂
File the 3rd pile in your newly cleaned out or created file system. Then for 4th pile, have a basket or place where you can put papers and mail that need attention before being tossed or filed.
Remember yesterday’s task where you saw a basket on the right-hand side of the computer? Well, that nice little basket is our “needs attention” basket and is the place for those high-priority, “needs to be filed” papers.
Once you do all of this, you are done!
NO MORE PAPER PILES! YAY!
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There’s no way on earth to get this done in one day. 🙂 I’m still working on day one challenge!
I’m glad I’m not the only one! It took me four days to get my desk cleared off!!! Papers will be on a day I find extra time – moving on to maybe step 3 or 4 now…
Janelle@The Peaceful Haven
Oh my! This one really hits home…we just remodeled our office and all the files need to be gone through and organized. Yikes! Thanks for running this organization series and helping others with this post!
I am going to add something extra to this job. I am also going to clean up my laptop. All files no longer needed, old games no longer played and anything else downloaded to my laptop that is just wasting space. Then I will run my virus scan and be ready to start with a nice fresh laptop tomorrow.
What a great idea Shirley!
Sometimes it takes me being able to “blame” someone else for me to get something done. This is one of those times. I can say to myself – if no one else – “Cassie & Alex said I had to…clean out my files.” Which after a move, a recent office revamp where everything is sitting in the middle of the living room waiting to be put back, and a former reporter, current writer who is addicted to paperwork, well, let’s just say it’s going to take more than just today but at least I am STARTING on it today; because “Cassie & Alex said I had to!” 😉 [Thanks for the push to get started!]
It DOES help to be told we HAVE TO DO something, doesn’t it? When my mother got Alzheimers, we often had to try and get her to do things she didn’t particularly want to…like take her meds or drink enough water. One day, I fell upon the idea of saying “THEY” said you have to do it. She never once questioned who “THEY” were and always did what “THEY” wanted her to do…keeping her healthier and allowing me to stop nagging her giving us back our mother-daughter relationship instead of adult vs caretaker relationship. SO, I totally agree that Cassie and Alex telling us we HAVE TO DO something works!!! Now, off to my desk clean-off! Cause (A;ex and Cassie told me I had to!)
LOL – that’s an awesome story! Great job!
Like LaWanna, I cannot finish this task in just one day. It will have to be an ongoing project for several weeks. However, I am motivated to get everything in its own file and out of my ever-expanding ‘General’ file.
It seems I need to do this clear off the desk challenge over and over. The desk is in the kitchen, and seems to gather just about everything that passes by. It’s a nice little desk, but I have never really had it properly organized so it’s worth keeping it that way! Therefore, I usually use the table in my craft room to deal with bills, etc…but that table usually has a craft-in-progress on it!
I seem unable to toss out the extra paper clips, thumb tacks, old pens that no longer have ink, etc. BUT am challenging myself TODAY to do just that and donate the “extras” to Goodwill. (And, throwing out the inkless pens!). WISH ME LUCK!
YAY! After that – see if you can find some frugal ways of compartmentalizing or organizing the stuff. IT’s a challenge when you do have odds and ends that you want to keep, but finding a solution will help dramatically.