Breast cancer survivor and clutter clearing author learns to walk her talk

Clutter clearing cancer coping author and motivational speaker We can learn to live our priorities fully (and not just surviving or getting by on a day to day basis) by clearing out the distractions and focusing on what is important to each of us, our families, and our lives. Cancer Survivorship Coping Tools: We'll get you through this by Barbara Tako, two-time cancer survivor and published author and motivational speaker on the topic of clutter clearing. For updates on this new book, click here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Simplify your household paperwork filing system

Paper clutter. It is the most frequently mentioned clutter in America! Whatever happened to going paperless? Instead, we all have our own printer-scanner-fax combos! We have super-sized our home offices. In fact, many of us now have a "home office" whether or not we have a home-based business. That is something to think about. While you are thinking, consider decluttering and simplifying the household paperwork filing system.

When my filing cabinets and paper storage boxes became full, I knew it was time to make another effort to unclutter the household paperwork filing system. As I hunkered on the floor, weeded out, reorganized, and making new files, I learned a lot about household files:

1. Some files can and do age out over time. Clutter happens because Life happens. Life moves along, but the paper file created by the life event (a purchase, death, job change, hobby...) lingers, and lingers, and lingers.

2. Files that get too thick can be split. One way to split them is to look at dates and separate them chronologically (2002-2007, 2008-). Another way is to give each subcategory its own file (A vacation folder might become: Vacations Abroad, Vacations USA, Vacations Local).

3. Several thin files on a related topic can sometimes be consolidated. I think I found a craft folder and a hobby folder that both held similar things, as well as  a long-term plans folder and a retirement folder. Keep an eye out for redundancies that may creep into your filing system.

4. Finally, keep an eye out for files that can go to long-term storage in a file box. Not everything in the family file cabinet needs to be referred to regularly or even stored there. Tip: If you pull out files you aren't using very often, you can leave empty folders in the cabinet with a sheet in each that refers you to the location of the file box, or you can keep a file index listing of all your folders and indicate which ones are in the file box as opposed to the file cabinet.

If you can shred and recycle instead of purchasing another file box, that is great, but don't be hard on yourself if your choice is to get another file box. The trick is to keep your household filing cabinet from getting too crowded to be functional for you. Life happens and as long as it does, it will continue to generate paperwork.

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