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Organize + Energize: Purge Those Files!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014


It's a new year, Rhode Island, and it's time to revamp your organizing habits.

This is a great time of year to purge your files! You know it’s time to purge your files when you go to open the file drawer and you struggle to squeeze one piece of paper into it. How much paper has fallen behind the cabinet that you haven’t bothered to grab? How many times have you gone to pull out a file you needed and had to wiggle it out because the files were so tightly packed? You even managed to slice your finger on a file folder. Those paper cuts hurt!

How is your filing system working for you? Does it need some tweaking? This past year, have you found duplicate category folders? Do you even know what is in most of those folders? Did you take over somebody else’s desk this past year and they left all their files in the desk? Have you been functioning all year with those files and haven’t needed to grab any of them?

When was the last time you took an inventory of your files? It’s time to get to work in your office and home and clear out the old and make way for the new instead of jamming papers into an already crammed file drawer.

Why purge?

I know this sounds like a tedious task and actually, 2 of my clients this past week said to me that they had more important things to do than clean out their files. My question to them was, how much time have you wasted searching for a file?

You want to be as efficient and productive as possible and if your files are weighing you down, it’s time to purge. If you do this every year, it’s going to be a breeze and only take half the time you think it will. Yes, it’s going to take you a while if you haven’t gone through your files in years. Think about how much easier it’s going to be next year. Also, think about how efficient and productive you will be this year now that your files are in order.

Out with the old

If you have questions about keeping certain financial documents, give your accountant a call. Make your own decisions on personal documents and files that you no longer think you need. Think about the last time you needed to refer to them. Are the forms now obsolete? You can make a pretty good guess about whether you need to keep or ditch something.

Also, if you haven’t been functioning well with your filing system, now is the time to set up a new working organized system. You are already working on taking files out of drawers so take it to the next step and re-organize. Empty out all the file drawers. Think about how you want to function with your files. Think about how you grab certain files and which files you want closest to you.

While we are talking about files, if you don’t even have a system for your files and all papers are just shoved in a drawer, take this time to take everything out of those drawers, purge, and categorize what you are keeping and develop a working organized system based around how you function.

Once you purge and re-organize files you are going to get a jumpstart in 2014 and feel 10 pounds lighter, and just think, you haven’t even started your diet yet. Happy New Year!


Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, the founder and owner of Organizing in RI, has always enjoyed finding creative ways to streamline the environment around her. She has appeared on air on Patricia Raskin's Positive Business Radio and her articles have been published in the Rhode Island Small Business Journal and New England Home Life. Kristin's CD, Organizing Basics, is a 1-hour guide for the person who wants to get organized but doesn't know where to start. She is also available for organizing workshops. Tune into her weekly radio show, Organize, Energize! on Mondays at 8:30am on www.talkstreamradio.com.


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