Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Your filing system won't work if you keep everything

In my home office, I have three file boxes, one for personal business, one for my professional organizing business and one for my creative writing projects. Yesterday I blasted through the first two, letting go of a bunch of papers I no longer need to hang on to. I hadn't done it in a while, and it took about an hour, but I felt confident when I was done that the items I had left behind were essential to my life right now and will be easy to find when I need them.

I'm not going to go into a big post about the best way to organize papers or set up filing systems, as that is different for almost everyone. I will say, though, that there is no filing system in the world that will work if you keep every piece of paper you come across. No filing system can support all the paper that comes into our lives.

The vast majority of the paper we come across is not essential. Most information we can track down if necessary. Haven't you ever wanted to just pitch all the piles of paper that are on your desk into the trash and be done with it? I don't advocate doing that, unless you are sure there are no checks or birth certificates in the pile, but if you constantly recycle and shred superfluous paper (remember Always Be De-cluttering?), your filing system will be able to function and you will be happier.

Creative Commons photo posted to Flickr by BLW Photography

Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email

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