Tag Archives: filing

Even Organizers Need An Organizer Sometimes

Katherine tells the story of her home office…

I wanted to turn my grown daughter’s abandoned room into a full-fledged office but I all I had was a piecemeal of cabinets and desktops.  To get a more professional feel, I figured I’d need to have my desk and countertop custom built.

My first step was to have a contractor come and help me figure out the best configuration and give me a bid.  I had heard great things about Bay Home & Window so I made an appointment.  Their designer, Jeff Johnson came to my home and gave me a plan that was way better than I had imagined!  It seemed pricey compared to my makeshift set-up, but I loved the design. I stalled on purchasing the new office furniture and I wasn’t sure why.

As it turns out, I was stuck because I didn’t know what my needs were until I got really organized. That’s when I brought in my professional organizer colleague.

What were my goals?

  1. I wanted to create a custom built-in desk and file system suited to the way I work
  2. I like lots of open desktop space to work on projects and wanted easy access to the information I need every day
  3. My receipts system was inadequate…too much paper stuffed into my receipts drawer
  4. I wanted to streamline tax preparation

What got accomplished that I wouldn’t have done on my own?

  1. I spent time sorting through the little bits in my drawers that I wouldn’t have wanted to spend time doing…it was tedious, but getting it done helped clear the logjam
  2. I made paper files that mirrored my tax categories in my financial software program – Schedule C and business use of home categories
  3. I purged many files from past conferences and trainings and archived many others

How long did it take?

I went through 8 file drawers, 1 receipts drawer and 2 supplies drawers – purging old docs, refreshing file labels and creating new files from the homeless pieces of paper I found in and around my desk.  It took about 4 hours.

Accomplishments:

  • I was able to pare down my files and supplies stored from 8 to 6 drawers, saving me from having to purchase another file cabinet (at least $300)
  • My active client and project files got moved up to desk level to enable easy access
  • Clearing out unnecessary paper and gathering my miscellanous notes into a system helped me feel less burdened by my “To-Do’s”

 

a more organized office

a more organized office

I didn’t expect to feel such a powerful sense of relief from dealing with that drawer of miscellaneous bits.  I never thought it would be worth my time.  I look in my drawer and there is a sense of clarity and …dare I say…HAPPINESS? that what I truly need and use is right there, at my fingertips!

I am now able to confidently move forward with a built-in desk system that works for me…without over-building (and over-paying.)  I’ll keep you posted on the progress!

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Filed under General Organizing, Office, Paper

How To Store Warranties & Instruction Manuals

Organize your manuals with a binder.

Organize your manuals with a binder

What do you do with all those manuals and instruction booklets you get when you purchase a new item?

Why to keep

Generally speaking we rarely refer back to instruction manuals and need to return items under warranty. That said, there are some times when they are useful.

Electronics are the items we most often have to refer back to for instructions. Having a manual on hand may be useful if you need to reprogram your cordless telephone or figure out how to use your scanner, for example.

Keeping the receipt with the warranty let’s you know when the item was purchased – and whether it’s still under warranty when it breaks!

The booklets often help you access the model number without having to get on your hands and knees to read the numbers on your range, for example.

A system, which includes the receipt, warranty and the instructions, provides an inventory of what you own for insurance purposes.

What to keep

Be realistic about the kind of instructions you’ll need to refer back to. Many small items and small appliances come with instruction manuals but are unnecessary for the consumer. Do you honestly think you’ll ever come back to the instruction manual for how to operate your smoke detector?

Purging out those kinds of manuals can reduce the paper by half. In addition, most manuals are available through the company website.

 Where to keep

Manuals and warranties are generally low-use items so don’t let them take up valuable real estate in your home. Wouldn’t you rather have useful tools in your kitchen junk drawer than rarely referenced booklets?

Here are a few of our favorite options for how to store them:

  • Filed by category, clearly labeled.  Sample headings: Appliances, Electronics, Misc., Sports, Tools, Toys
  • Binder(s) with plastic sleeves or file pockets to make it easy to toss in new manuals
  • Designated drawer or portable box

Get started! Go grab your stack of manuals and start purging. You’ll be surprised at how few you really need to keep and that will make storing them all the easier.

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Filed under General Organizing, Paper, Strategies

Overwhelmed with Paper?

Check out our YouTube video!

Check out our YouTube video!

The start of a new year is the perfect time to set up a new way to handle the constant flow of incoming paper. If you often feel frustrated or overwhelmed with paper and wonder where to put things, you aren’t alone!

For years now we’ve been using FreedomFiler® with clients. We love this system because it really teaches clients what they  need to keep and for how long.

The beauty of the FreedomFiler® system is that it does the work of making these decisions for you. It is designed to cycle papers OUT of the files – forever eliminating the need to set aside time to “purge the filing cabinet”.

FreedomFiler® is made up of 4 color-coded sections:

  • GREEN for monthly miscellaneous transactions
  • BLUE for tax-related transactions
  • RED for permanent family and property records
  • ORANGE/YELLOW for current policies, agreements
  • You may set up an optional fifth section in PURPLE, for saving literature, articles, and notes

When filing papers with FreedomFiler®, you only have to figure out what kind of paper you are holding; that determines which color group it gets filed in and the color group will determine how long it’s kept.

To use the system ask 4 simple questions

  1. Does this paper require immediate action or follow-up?
  2. Can I use this paper for taxes?
  3. Is this a vital record belonging to a person or an asset?
  4. Is this a newer version of an existing document?

Click the graphic below to see how it works:

Freedom Filer makes filing easy

Could it be that easy?  YES! Check out our short video intro to give you a taste.

If you use FreedomFiler® share your experience.  If you have a question, share that too!

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Filed under General Organizing, Office, Paper, Work

Paper: to Keep or Toss? Problem Solved

Using Freedom Filer® takes the guesswork out of paper filing

Your Filing is Finished!

“What do I need to keep and how long should I keep it?”

This is one of the most asked questions we get from clients around their papers.

For years now we’ve been using FreedomFiler® with clients. We love this system because it really teaches clients exactly that – what do you need to keep and for how long?

The beauty of the FreedomFiler® system is that it does the work of making these decisions for you. It is designed to cycle papers OUT of the files – forever eliminating the need to set aside time to “purge the filing cabinet”.

FreedomFiler® is made up of 4 color-coded sections:

  • GREEN for monthly miscellaneous transactions
  • BLUE for tax-related transactions
  • RED for permanent family and property records
  • ORANGE/YELLOW for current policies, agreements
  • You may set up an optional fifth section in PURPLE, for saving literature, articles, and notes

When filing papers with FreedomFiler®, you only have to figure out what kind of paper you are holding; that determines which color group it gets filed in and the color group will determine how long it’s kept.

To use the system ask 4 simple questions

  1. Does this paper require immediate action or follow-up?
  2. Can I use this paper for taxes?
  3. Is this a vital record belonging to a person or an asset?
  4. Is this a newer version of an existing document?

Click the graphic below to see how it works:

Freedom Filer makes filing easy

Could it be that easy?  YES!

If you use FreedomFiler® share your experience.  If you have a question, share that too!

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Filed under General Organizing, Office, Paper, Work