Welcome to Organize Your Files week! We’re going to spend this week conquering those paper piles by taking on challenges and bonus challenges that will whip your piles into shape! Today is all about finding a place your papers can call home!
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Finding a Place Your Papers Can Call Home
Today we’ll be kicking off Organize Your Files Week, setting some “rules” for the week, and finding a place for your paper to call home.
The Two Rules for the Week:
- From Me – I’ve lived through these experiences and learned from them; now I want to share what I’ve learned with you.
- From You to You – Please be nice to yourself. Things gets out of hand. Hey, life is crazy! Beating yourself up will only make it worse.
- Focus on the end result: fewer (or no) paper piles cluttering up your counter and table tops and established routines so that it doesn’t happen again.
- The average person wastes 2 hours a year searching for papers. Focus on getting that time back!
- Think of how great you’re going to feel when you make it through this week. And you will make it through this week…I’m NOT doing this alone! 🙂
Let’s Set the Scene
Allow me to paint a picture for you….
Day 1, 4 pm: I pick up the kids from their sports practices, and we stop by the mail box to grab the mail (it hasn’t been picked up for a week). Then we head home. We walk in the door, the kids grab a snack, and I flip through the mail….
With no intention of opening it.
Hubs walks in, I drop the mail on the kitchen counter, and give him a big kiss.
The phone rings and Hubs and the mail are completely forgotten.
Day 2, 5 pm: I’m at the kitchen table working on organizing our receipts, so that I can get the taxes filed.
The kids and Hubs walk in.
I stop what I’m doing to give them hugs and kisses and wait with bated breath to hear all about their day.
The tax receipts are on the table, a mess of white and smudged black.
And there they stay. Forgotten.
Day 3, 2 pm: I’m at the dining room table (because there’s a mess in the office, on the kitchen table, and on the kitchen counter) sorting the kids keepsakes, trying to decide what to keep and what to toss.
I look at the clock and realize that it’s my day to pick up the kids from school (no sports practices today), and I’m late. I grab my purse and my cell phone, and race out the door.
The keepsakes sit, abandoned and alone, on the dining room table.
Day 4, 8 am: Kids and Hubs are off to school and work, respectively. I pour myself a cup of coffee with the intention of enjoying a few moments of quiet.
Until I look around.
My house is a sty! There’s no place to sit (too many piles on every open surface), and there are papers everywhere!
I burst into tears.
And end scene.
I feel your pain.
This isn’t a made up scenario that I pulled out of nowhere. It has happened to me. More than once.
Finding a Place Your Papers Can Call Home
(Please pin from the original source!)
Now, what did I do wrong?
My problems started on Day 1 (probably earlier) when I looked through the mail at the kitchen counter. Things got progressively worse throughout the week, because I used the “Rotating Office System for Paper Management.” #NotEfficient
We need a place to work, especially at home where there are myriad activities happening daily, and where we switch hats like we clean up messes: hourly.
We need a home base. Not just for today. Not just for this week. For always. And it can’t move.
I know what you’re thinking, “My house/apartment/rental is tiny. I have to use the Rotating Office System for Paper Management.”
It feels like that. It did for me when my oldest daughter was home, and I couldn’t kick her out of her bedroom so that I could turn it into a home office. 🙂
At that point I was working in our unfinished basement. Cold, lots of spiders, and just plain “ewww.”
But there’s hope!
*Drum roll, please.*
Here are 13 creative office ideas to get you thinking:
- A Closet – Declutter like a rockstar and claim that space as your own.
- An Empty Corner – The kids don’t need all of those toys, right? Declutter like a rockstar and claim that space as your own.
- The Guest Room – Please, your guests can sleep on the couch. Just kidding! I’ll bet you can rearrange or declutter like a rockstar and stick a desk or a file cabinet in there.
- A Storage Trunk
- A Basket and Portable File System by Your Favorite Chair – The trick with this one is to convince yourself that the file system isn’t portable. Or be really disciplined.
- An Armoire
- A Shelf Desk
- A Bookshelf or a Couple of Shelves on One
- An Elfa System from The Container Store
- Incorporate it into Your Command Center
- On a Landing
- In Your Laundry/Mud Room
I’ve got my spot. What spot will you claim?
For more inspiration, check out my “Inspiring Work Spaces” board on Pinterest!
The Essential Elements
Okay, we’ve got our spaces picked out. Now, we need to round up all of the essential elements needed to really make the space efficient and effective.
Essential Elements of the Place Your Paper Piles Can Call Home:
- Trash Can – You can NOT skip this one; it’s dot numero uno for a reason!
- Recycling Box (if you aren’t near the recycling bin)
- To File Box
- Action File
- Writing Utensils
- A Place to Keep Your Writing Utensils
- Your Calendar
- Paper Clips
- Binder Clips
- Return Address Labels
- Sticky Notes
- A Filing Sytem – Portable, a filing cabinet, whatever works for you
- Anything Else You Need
** These Flyt magazine files from Ikea are inexpensive, can be blinged up, and work great as inboxes, especially if you’re tight on space. They aren’t terribly sturdy, so if they’re going in a high traffic area, you might want to splurge for an upgrade.
Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It
Today’s Challenge: Identify the Place Your Paper Piles Will Call Home (if you haven’t all ready).
Bonus Challenge: Get a box or a laundry basket, set a timer for 15 to 30 minutes, then run like a wild woman and gather up all of the papers and paper piles around your house. Drop them in the box/laundry basket.
Now back away from the box/laundry basket. Leave it. We’ll dive into this soon.
Bonus Challenge #2: Grab a box or a bin and start gathering essential elements from the list.
You likely have most of these laying around your house. Please, don’t feel like you have to go out and buy anything!
Other Posts in This Series
Be sure to check out the other post in the Organize Your Files Week series and whip those files into shape!
Let’s do this thing!
Thanks for joining me ~