This was originally posted 3/3/09 on Organising Queen as a guest blog series.
My office is finished! Or at least the office area that I use daily... we will talk about my storage closet later.
Step 6 is to set up a filing system for the paper you need to keep. After all that sorting a few weeks ago, this is what I did with what was left:
One thing I did -over and above- *that I really like* I replaced all the file folders (at least until I ran out of folders) with no tab folders.
Geez Anne! No tab folders cost sooooo much more than regular folders. Was that really a wise financial choice??
Actually, a year and a half ago I bought a box of 100 file folders for $3.75. Tabs and all. But to me, the tabs are visual clutter when the drawer is open and really started to bother me. So I sat down with my trusty CM cutting mat, a razor knife and a metal straight edge and I sliced off all the tabs!
The only folders that still have tabs are the pretty ones on my desktop.
And you have to see this! This is 2 plastic file totes FULL of empty hanging folders! No joke! Can you believe that when I started this journey... all those hanging files were FULL!
Oh My Goodness!!!
Now, just to show that I have really been working my butt off on this... here are shots of my closet...
Before: full of scrapbook supplies with no hope of finding anything. (The bottom of the closet is 2 deep of boxes and totes and stuff... 2 deep!)
and After: One well-organized walk-in closet for hubby and me.
You will notice that I dragged up and old dresser from the basement. It now houses things that had no home, piles that had been taking up floor space... my jeans, my hubby's hats, etc.
I also got a terrific deal on a labeler:($15 for a $40 labeler) and went to work making everything uniform and cleanly labeled.
Ok, so I am a little OCD... I admit it!
ANYWAY.... the point is that it looks good and I like it.
But let's talk about the nitty gritty... Step 6: make a system for YOUR papers. That would be a personalized way to file your papers. FOR EXAMPLE: No sence in filing alphabetically when you think in themes or time. Me? I just hate filing at all. I hardly ever reference anything again. It takes forever to file and then just becomes a forgotten set of papers. That seems like a real waste of time!
So what I did is to get rid of the things that do not get referenced and to highlight the ones that do get used.
- receipts from the last 5 years.
- extra papers such as registration cards
- assembly sheets for Barbie dolls
- magazine pages for crafts I like the looks of but will never actually make
- tax files
- Creditor contact information
- Appliance Manuals
Then I made monthly files in my action drawer. Almost everything that I would file will go in there. So I no longer file statements by company ... I stick them in the folder for the month they were paid. Easy.
I filed my warranties and manuals by room. I made a hanging file for each area of the house and stuck in the appropriate stuff. Now it will be much easier to find the manual for the TV in my daughter's room... I will just pull the file for her room and it is the only TV manual in there.*GRIN* Easy works for me!
Now to Step 7. The last step. This step was a "D'oh" moment for me. Simply stated... step 7 says Make your tools work for you. The suggestion Marcia made was that if you are using organizing tools that give you more work rather than less... perhaps it is better to switch to something else.
That really got me thinking. I have been using my Frankin Planner since 1995. I started using it because it was the only planner/calendar on the market that listed evening hours. I was working 12 hour shifts, working 6 days a week... and the traditional 5 day work week, 9 to 5 calendar did not cover what I needed. PLUS I needed to be able to keep personal information and my family calendar together with work so that I didnt double schedule myself. And that happened often... 60 hours a week wasnt enough for a customer and I would end up coming in on my time off to meet with them on their schedule... completely forgetting about family plans. So the Franklin worked for me.
And now I am a Stay at Home Mom. If I do work, it doesnt involve appointments outside of business hours.
But I do like having all my personal information in one place... no more searching for notes or reference materials. It is all in my planner.
I looked back over months of planner pages.
- I never use the appointment section. That is half a page wasted.
- And on the notes section I always note the same things... menu selections, medications I take, what I ate, how much I weigh and what the weather is. Hmmmm.
- I even noticed that in the last month or so I have gotten to the point that I write my TO DOs right over the appointment section. I have more TO DOs than anything else.
I need to personalize my planner to make it work for me. I drew out what I thought would work and formatted new planner pages.
Well.... I tried. I used Word. I used Excel. I used Publisher. I even downloaded Open Office. No matter what, I just could NOT get it to look the way I wanted. I mean it has to be cute and easy on the eyes or I will just quit using it no matter how efficient it is.
My solution? My 16 year old daughter!
I gave her the drawing and she set to work. Within a matter of hours she sent me a doc file with EXACLTY what I wanted in it! Thank God for technically savvy kids!
In fact, she did such a great job on it that I had her make my monthly financial planning form too!
Whoo hoo! I love my new planner pages! LOVE LOVE LOVE
That is it! I have completed all 7 steps! REALLY! I did it! And it feels amazing! Now it is your turn!
P.S. Remember Anne's cute file folders? She did a file folder tutorial so we can all learn how to do them here.