Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What to Keep, What to Toss?

Do you absolutely dread paperwork and filing? When it comes to paper it can be hard to know what you need to keep, how long to keep it and what you can part with and most of us keep way more paper than we really need to. Not having a clear idea of what you actually need to keep can make you afraid to toss anything. It quickly piles up, fills up file drawers and becomes overwhelming especially if you don't have some basic guidelines and a schedule for paring down and keeping it in check.

I like to use tax time each year (just after I file) to do a major weed out paperwork that I know I no longer need. As a professional organizer I have researched and used various guidelines to help my clients (and myself) take control of paper piles and overstuffed files. I ran across a set of guidelines on The Container's Store's webite that is short, sweet and to the point. Keep in mind that these are general guidelines so check with your financial advisor if you have questions about your particular situation especially if it's complicated.

And if all else fails use colorful folders to make filing more exciting!


Take a look at some of my organizing success! (Photos and text used with permission.)


Cluttered Desk


Clean and Clear of Clutter

Chaotic Shelf

Neat and Tidy Home Office

Client Feedback

I work out of a home office without any administrative support. I worked with Melissa to organize both my personal and professional effects as I prepared to relocate. I wish I had done it years ago. While organizing my office and paperwork Melissa identified my natural tendencies and created an organizational structure that was easy for me to maintain. When I began looking for a personal organizer, I mostly wanted someone else to come in and take care of the mess I had allowed to build up over the years. Working with an “uninterested” party during the purging process helped me lighten my load considerably. During the process Melissa provided me with simple intuitive skills that have not only allowed me to maintain my newly found order but help friends and family organize as well. I can honestly say hiring Melissa is one of the best things I have ever done for myself. Kelsi Reeves