A Saving too many papers could be for several reasons: no one told you what is "needed" to keep, told you the "old way" or "their way" of keeping, or you just never got the training or skills needed.
Saving, piling, bagging, boxing, hoarding and pack ratting can also be very dangerous in more ways then one. There has been an up rise in fires due to clutter, condemned home and property, pain, hurt and yes even death due to clutter falling in around people in their homes.
And some no matter what they do it is very hard for them to ever get any sense of logic. They live in their right brain, the creative side that just wants to have fun; however later regrets having not been more responsible in taking care of, loving or even taking an interest in where or how things should be stored. An old bucket, a coat tree, whatever the item will fit in and look good in to them.
Saving the right things and the correct amount of things I feel is all about getting educated and for some professional help, be that a doctor or an organizer.
So when it comes to your paper, look at it and ask yourself:
WHO does it belong to?
WHAT do I need it for?
WHEN we I use it?
WHERE else can I find this?
WHY do I have this?
A Sorting can be done in categories. What types of papers you have will help determine what your new piles will be named. I use the TEASER from my system to sort through paper piles and files and just about anything else that needs to be sorted in the home or office. Lesson 2 teaches my sorting process in detail in of my 35 Days or Less to Sorting and Organizing ALL Your Home Paper Work Course. If you have the room to keep your papers in one place filed great; however many don't and separate out their current files and papers from the reference file and historical files, which can be put in different locations. Learn more about this process in Lesson 3,4,7 and 8 of my 35 Days or Less to Sorting and Organizing ALL Your Home Paper Work Course
A Cross Categories can cause havoc for some and take up a lot of your precious time. So first look at what your files are called and which, if any, can you combine? Let's use the example of insurance policies. Do you have files for all the different types of insurance, such as a file for autos, file for home, file for medical? Wouldn't it be less time consuming to "lump" all the insurance policies in one folder called insurance? Also an inventory of your files you might find helpful.
files can be stored in several different places in different forms. For
instance, many kitchen's now have a "secretary" zone, where you would
keep things you use on a daily basis and current files in a file drawer
or a tickler file stand you use at least weekly. Files that you
refer to periodically can be filed in a file box or cabinet in another
room, easy to get to and your historical files can be stored in a file
box that's out of sight.
A Stacking, ummm ... I've known many a stackers. It's their visual that they need so "they don't forget!" And many stackers I've met can pull something right out of their stack when asked for ... immediately! We are all different and do not and should not operate as the same. So if you are a stacker you might want to get stacking trays, label them and sort and organize accordingly.
A My goodness! It sounds like you are holding on to too much paper and perhaps are unsure of what to really keep or what you can safely toss/recycle/shred. I recall my mother-in-law, Mom Dot, basement filing cabinet after she left this beautiful world; she had utility bill stubs dated back to the 30's!!!
It was hard for me to see. Can you imagine or are you just like MOM DOT and hold onto or continue to hold onto papers you aren't sure if you really need, where to file, or if it's safe to toss and or recycle/shred.
Perhaps you have files and piles to what I refer to as "pre-Internet" days. You know all the recipes, how-to's, craft projects and "this is important so I better file it" information that you can now easily find on the Internet. Most of that stuff you can probably safely let go of now and look it up on the Internet.
If you have room out of room for your papers then I highly recommend you take my 35 Days or Less to Sorting and Organizing ALL Your Home Paper Work Course, have me come over or do some phone coaching with me - call me 410-586-9440
A EOB's (Explanation of Benefits) generally tell you what your insurance company paid for a test or medical visit. So ask yourself the following: What use are they? Have you ever needed them after you filed them? Are you "required" to keep them? I personally recommend keeping them until either 1) you make sure the bill was actually paid or 2) save for a year and if not tax deductible toss, shred or recycle.
Personal medical records or bills you've paid should be saved until the end of year to see if you have accrued enough to claim on your taxes. If not then get rid of them. Now some like to save their personal records of when a test or procedure was done. I highly recommend my associate Shirley Green's Medical Pink Sheet to record your medical history into. My husband was just telling me with his new diagnosis of kidney disease that if an emergency was to happen and he had to go to the hospital I must tell them this and that. Well I immediately got Shirley's Medical Pink Sheet to record all this important information that I would NEVER recall in an emergency. Now I'm ready if an emergency should come to my husband.
A You have two things going on here: fear and an excuse. Ask yourself: Have you missed anything yet and if so were you able to find it? It's not bad to save things as long as you have a real reason to save it and you will use it. If someday ever comes will you be able to find it? This is where a good inventory of your files and maintaining your files comes into play. Inventory and maintaining are discussed in more detail in lessons 8, 9 and 11 in my 35 Days or Less to Sorting and Organizing ALL Your Home Paper Work Course
A Inventory list of your files is very important and also at least a yearly review and purge. Also see if you can combine some categories to make filing faster and locating easier. Lets say for example you write about different health issues. Have a hanging folder (you might need more then one) name it Health. Now insert, if needed, manila folders ;labeled with the particular health issue, such as ADD, OCD, Diabetes, Cancer, etc. And remember to ask yourself before saving and filing, Where else can I find this information if needed? Also some topics the basic information stays the same and some topics, such as technology, the information changes rapidly so a review of your files is very important.
A The best question to ask yourself is What is the next action, if anything, I need to take on this paper? Lesson 9 offers my File or Toss in my 35 Days or Less to Sorting and Organizing ALL Your Home Paper Work Course
Excuse 1: I don't have the time.
Well what exactly are you doing with all your time? Do you really know where your time is being spent and on what?
You can guess and estimate all you want; however until you
really become aware, possibly keep a time log of how you are
spending your time, you really won't know for certain. Get a
copy of our free time log at:
Excuse 2: I'm too busy.
Let's get honest here. Are you really that busy that you can't take a half hour, half or whole day to tackle and sort through some of your piles, clutter, and stuff? Now I know that when one does get a little extra time they want to spend it doing whatever they want and that's okay. What we are attempting to do is create some semblance of balance.
For instance, if you are curled up in front of the TV or outside playing, whatever it might be that you do when you catch some 'free time,' and your piles and stuff are overtaking your life and environment then you are out of balance.
Remember, if you know what to do and are neglecting those to-do's then you are procrastinating or unfocused. Not too many
people want to clean out their closet or sort through paper piles
when a good movie is on and they could just lay around and
relax without a care in the world. Or go play outside on a
beautiful day rather then stay indoors going through piles. After
all, you'll get your to-do's done one day, right? Which beings us
Excuse 3: I'll get organized someday.
When will your someday come?
Excuse 4: I'm waiting for the right and perfect time.
Will the right and perfect time be after the above happens, when you are rudely awakened and forced to focus on your clutter issues? Believe me, giving up a TV show or a nice day is much better then going through the hell you will endure if any of the above happen to you.
Excuse 5: I have more important things to do.
Have you ever noticed how you don't mind doing the other little things you've been putting off when you think you're ready to tackle a project? This could be any project, not necessarily an organizing project. This happens to all us procrastinators, including myself. Just when you're ready to jump into something you suddenly notice that this or that needs taken care of first.
Excuse 6: I'm looking for a quick fix.
If you are looking for a quick fix, well there really isn't one. Every pile, mess, and disorganized area must be sorted through.
Decisions must be made:
Excuse 7: I have interruptions all day long.
First of all let me tell you that when you have clutter and chaos in your life you are interrupting yourself!
After you have identified your what and whom interruptions ask yourself what you can do to put a stop to those interruptions.
For instance, if you don't know how to properly use the equipment or technology you are using, that's suppose to save you time, then you really need to plan some learning time in order to get the best use out of your equipment and technology or delegate those tasks to someone more knowledgeable.
If certain people are always interrupting you then you need to step up and set boundaries with those people. Create some rules or guidelines of when you are available, and be nice about it.
Excuse 8: I have so much going on I can't stay focused on anything.
This is ME! I have so many projects, products, web sites, clients, and to-do's it's very hard for me to stay focused at times. That's just in my business life. I also have things in my home life and outside my job and home that I want to focus on. You too?
Well let me tell you, one of my coaches got a hold of me at the beginning of the year and made me sit down with her and make a list of the things I have going on. Then she told me I had to pick 5 and only 5 items from my list. After talking about and going through all the items I was finally able to determine and pick out the 5 most important items to keep my focus on.
Now that doesn't mean I need to give up all the other items on my list, I don't have to abandon them. I'm just not focusing on them until I have completed a task from my top 5 focus areas.
So, make a list of all the items you want to get organized, focused on, and completed and pick out only 5 items, the ones that are causing you the most pain and chaos in your life and let's start working on them together.
Don't let your lack of focus grow and overpower you - taking over your life, and your environment, let me help you.
janet hall, the person/place energy mover
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