Confession is good for the soul, and it is time to lay my “filing soul” bare… Single sheets, clipped articles, ridiculously long how-to guides, I found all of these things when I cleaned out my files. Watch this video to see how I reduced my files by half!
(Click here to watch on YouTube if you can’t see the embedded player. Or watch the video at http://bit.ly/tcdconfess.)
Hi. I’m Lorie Marrero, creator of the Clutter Diet book and on-line program, and today, you’re going to hear about my true confessions about my filing cabinet. Now, I’m moving out of a house that I lived in for 11 years, and I worked out of this home office for that long, and I had this filing cabinet full of stuff. And I had a goal moving out that I would reduce my filing cabinet size by half. And I did it, and it wasn’t that hard. Now obviously, I do go through my files once or twice a year, and I shuffle things around, move things to archives, and I review my file index and pull things that don’t seem to be relevant anymore, but it had been a while since I had gone page by page, folder by folder, and looked at every single thing in my cabinets. And when I did that, I found some really funny stuff. So I wanted to share this with you, and maybe you can laugh at me and then turn around and laugh at yourself and go and get motivated to clean out your own filing cabinet.
I found a lot of single sheets of paper in a folder all by themselves. This picture is of a list of NAPO Chapters (our National Association of Professional Organizers). Well, of course I’m going to get that on-line now. I don’t need that list of chapters. And I also found stuff like this where they were just examples of things and little articles, just kind of one-off articles that I now am going to use my I-Pad camera to take a picture of and save as Evernote Notes inside of an Evernote Notebook. That’s one of my favorite tools for reference information now. I also keep a lot of things electronically in PDF format in my electronic folders. So I found a lot of really funny stuff also like this – large reports that I used to print out to read – now I take those PDF’s and move them over to my I-Pad and read them electronically on a tablet so I don’t have to print that out. And if I do have to print it for some reason, now my printer does double-sided printing, so I can save some of that paper. But as you can see, what’s in this picture is a report or a training on Outlook for your Palm Handheld, which is, you know, a PDA that was long before the I-Phone. So that’s pretty funny.
The funniest one though I have to tell you was a report with a subtitle “Best Practices for Electronic Document Retention.” So it’s pretty funny that I even printed that out in the first place and even funnier that I kept it. It’s so thick – you can see this report here – so obviously I recycled that and I got a kick out of that.
Again, now that stuff is all in PDF format on my hard drive. There are so many things that I found that I’m keeping electronically now that made it easier to cut my file size in-half. And those things were like mortgage statements, bank statements, credit card statements, insurance policies, fun “things to do” lists that I cut out from the newspaper, or restaurant ideas, gift ideas, all that stuff now I keep electronically in Evernote or PDF. Also, I had a really funny article like The Top Doctors in Texas in 2004, and that kind of thing.
So, you know, it stacks up, and even if you are an organizing expert, you still don’t escape having a few of these silly things in your file. So, I challenge you to go through your files, folder by folder, and it will only take you a couple of hours, and you’ll be surprised, and I bet you can cut your file size in-half too. And add on to that practices to save new information electronically whenever you can.
If you’d like more information about this, along with free bonus tutorials about how to use Evernote and how to do numerical search filing and other things, you can find that in my new book “The Home Office Handbook: Rules of Thumb for Organizing Your Time, Information, and Workspace.” You can get that on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble and pretty much anywhere books are sold.
See you next time, and may you always be happy and grateful for having more than enough.
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