I can't believe I have to reorganize again!

marie26September 18, 2005

I am not working so I am amazed how things have gotten so out of control. I really do have the time to keep it up.

I still have my paper problem. I have just been stuffing all the "to be filed" papers into a kitchen cupboard. I cannot make myself to walk the short distance to the room with the filing cabinet. I am ready to buy another container just to put these papers in since it takes my several months to get so frustrated to actually do the filing. I've been doing this for too many years and I can't seem to change this habit. Any advice?

Another area that is out of control are my kitchen cabinets. I have many drawers and cabinets but I finally am ready to say I know what I regularly use and what I use infrequently like my slicer. There are also items that I know I am not using. It was hard to type that last sentence because I am finally admitting there is really no reason to hold onto these things.

I am thinking of moving the not often used items to the laundry room cupboards or the top kitchen cupboard cabinets. Then I will move the not used items to boxes and put them labelled into the garage. I might know I don't need them but I still need the time to finally give this stuff away. But this will leave me with empty spaces in my kitchen cupboards which also doesn't make sense or does it?

Does this sound like a plan? I have the whole family coming to visit in November so I know I need to get started.

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It sounds like the file cabinet in the other room is not working for you. Please don't beat yourself up about it. Instead, find another way to deal with these pieces of paper you're stuffing into your kitchen cabinet. First, ask yourself if you really need to keep all of the papers long term to begin with. For most folks, only a few documents are important enough to file away: legal certifcates, documents in your care for someone else, photocopies of drivers licenses and credit cards, financial statements, tax-related information, a copy of your will, documents concerning ownership like a title or deed, and certain medical records. Things like monthly bills and receipts, medical insurance paperwork, news letters and articles, calendars and schedules, personal correspondance, etc. generally don't deserve a place in a file cabinet. These temporary documents can be stored in your kitchen cabinet. What about buying stackers, which do fit into a cabinet if you buy the kind where the open end is the long side, labeling each one, and using those as your short term file? That way, you can find your paperwork quickly if you need it, the piles aren't overwhelming because they are in order, and most importantly you can open your cabinet without feeling badly about yourself. We recently remodeled our kitchen and I wish I could have put in file cabinets that match the rest of my cabinetry. Our file cabinet is in my husband's bedroom closet, it's locked, I never seem to know where the key is, so needless to say you aren't the only one with file cabinet issues! Since the kitchen is my headquarters, I'm struggling with the same sort of issue, that is, managing paper in the kitchen and having clean countertops at the same time. Hey, at least you can close that cabinet door!

Next, I definitely would box up any kitchen item that hasn't been used in a year, or say since Thanksgiving 2003 (or some such signifcant holdiay date in the past). Put it in the garage, since moving clutter from one area to the next can be counterproductive unless your laundry room is spacious and is far from view. Let the boxes sit for a while, in a few months, perhaps this spring, you'll feel ready to deal with them again. If you have empty spaces in your cupboards when you're finished, one thing you might do is to buy yourself a new kitchen gadget, small appliance you've been wanting to try, dishes, etc as a way reinforce that freeing up space by getting rid of useless objects means that you can buy things that actually might make a difference in your meal preparation, cooking or clean up.

Here is a quote I really have benefited from, largely due to the fact that I find housekeeping and the kind of work associated with keeping on top of things, absolutely overwhelming:

"Your attitude has to change from 'Why do I have to do this?' to 'This is my home and I desrve to have a wonderful place to live. This blesses my home and my family and most of all, me!' Do you feel the difference that these two statements make in your heart?"

Flylady said this. For more information about her program, click the link. Lastly, make sure that your health is good. If you don't feel good, it is very difficult to get the energy going required to change long term habits. I hope that the motivation provided by your family's visit will spark the changes you long for. Please keep us posted every (baby) step of the way.

Here is a link that might be useful: Flylady

    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 4:05PM
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I haven't had a chance to read cup's words, so forgive me if I repeat.

I cannot make myself to walk the short distance to the room with the filing cabinet. (you are not alone w/ this problem, btw)

MOVE THE FILING CABINET! Find a way to put it near where you actually deal with the mail and open those papers. I don't CARE what it looks like--"ugly" can't be worse for you than those papers. And in fact, I personally do not find anything "ugly" about "working" or "effective." And get a filing-cabinet solution that WORKS well--opens smoothly, has full-extension drawers.

Or, maybe you can get away with buying a filing solution that will fit in that space--perhaps of those accordion envelopes w/ lots of pockets.

Look at what SORTS of things are in that stack (in a way, look at that pile as a worthwhile research project--you will KNOW what sorts of stuff you're trying to keep). Be honest--have you ever needed it again? Would you need it again? Should you just toss those sorts of things as you go instead of filing them? If so, find a way to put a shredder near there.

Once you've decided which of them you DO need to hang on to for a bit, maybe you'll see that they're all smallish--I keep my paid bills in a 6x9 card-file drawer. I cut down manilla folders to fit, and I put the bills in there. The bill are never full-size anyway, so why waste the big file-folder space on them. (and a normal size sheet of paper will fit in there if it's folded in half)

NOTE THAT THIS IS A DRAWER, NOT A BOX. Why am I making such a big deal of that point? Bcs you need an easy-to-use solution. Having to take stuff off the top of the box, get the box down, take off the lid, file the stuff, put the lid on the box, put the box back up, and pile whatever back on top of the box, is TOO MUCH. W/ a card-file drawer, you can pull it open, stick in the paper, and push it shut. Easy-peasy.

I agree and disagree w/ cup on the importance of papers. Lots of stuff is not necessary to keep, true. But I do file away paid bills--only for a year, though (I could probably get away with throwing away last month's bill when I pay this month's, though--that's an idea for you to try, and maybe for me.).

And I do put less-important stuff (like the directions to the strawberry farm, the map from the zoo, etc.) in the filing cabinet. Why? Because I *WILL* want them again, and I want to be able to find them (I have a folder labeled "Fun Stuff") I keep the health forms that get filled out for the kids' day camps, etc., bcs if I need to prove immunizations, I can use them.

I keep the calendars (I toss newsletters) on a hook, but if my filing cabinet were in my main working area (the dining room), I'd put them in my filing cabinet, too.

I don't actually equate "filing cabinet" with "ultra-official papers." I use my filing cabinet for "stuff that needs to be put where I can find it again soon."

Filing cabinets are not for archives. They are for "in and out and in and out." Think about businesses, and what they put in their filing cabinets. I use filing cabinets in my work, and in them I put the stuff I refer to often but don't want to LOOK AT all the time. In folders, labeled, so I can find it. Because I *will* need it again in about a day or two.

I keep stuff like copies of the will or birth certificates in one of those fire-safe boxes in the basement. Because I SELDOM need them. So they're down there, archived, in a safe container, where I can go get them the "once every 5 years" that I need them.

As for the kitchen: sounds like you've got a plan. I'll encourage you to take stuff outoutout as soon as you possibly can. But if you feel reluctant, then stashing them in the garage is a good transition. Just don't open them again.

And, as you are putting stuff in the boxes to GO to the garage, you are bound to run into some stuff you KNOW you don't want. Throw those things straight into the garbage; don't let them get into the garage just because there's room in the box. And toss them, rather than donate them, because frankly if you don' t need them, no one else does, either. Every kitchen in America is full of useless stuff.

You can do it--look what you've done already--deciding to fix the problem, and deciding that you CAN get rid of stuff, is the most valuable step!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 10:31AM
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I thought I'd check in. I went through 3/4 of the kitchen cabinets and filled a large garbage bag with unneeded stuff. It's in the corner of the garage for now because there are things in there that my kids might need for their kitchens.

Talley Sue, the filing cabinet is a huge commercial 5 drawer cabinet. I was so happy when I got it but if anyone wants to learn from me, if the papers gather in the kitchen, put a small cabinet in the kitchen.

Another problem I have are newspapers. I get 2 different papers each day (that won't change) and we do not have recycling. I keep all the ads and will need to discard the old ads before adding the new ones to the drawer that I now keep them in. Obviously, it's paper and I'm not good at doing this.

I also have a huge pile of newspapers sitting on the bench in the foyer. This has become the spot for them. Any advice on how I should take care of all these newspapers in a timely manner?

One thought I had is getting a craft cabinet I saw at Costco that I keep looking at each time I am there. It has about 10 drawers and I could use these for the ads. Since each drawer won't hold too much, it might be easier to just pull out the previous ads and put in the new ones. I suppose I could also file my papers into that as well. I do have some empty card files and might consider that but they are quite deep and I don't know where I could store them in the kitchen.

Do you think that if I bought this cabinet my paper problem might be solved?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 5:07PM
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Hi Marie,

When I have an organizing problem like this where I really don't know the best way to solve it, I really try NOT to buy more stuff, and instead try to find a way to make it work with what I have already. Then, a few weeks or months later, if I'm still dreaming of the cabinet, or whatever, and really think that would solve the problem, go for it. But it sounds like you have a lot of space already in your kitchen. In fact, it sounds like you have a lot of drawers that could be emptied out, and you are suggesting buying more drawers. I guess for me, I would figure out what I REALLY needed space for and then put the most important things in those valuable spaces. If papers were a big problem, I would empty out some drawers of unused gadgets to use for much used papers. I think a lot of it is prioritizing what you have spacewise.

As for newspapers, I do the same sort of thing. I have a drawer to put all the ads in, and each Sunday (when the new ones come in) or Monday (when the recycling goes out) I go through them quickly and replace them. Most of them are for 1 week, so most of them can get tossed, and if I have to look too hard for a date I throw them out, too. Then plop the new stack in and repeat. I found that this, like my filing system for kids papers (in filing cabinet and 3 ring binder) works, just because it gives me a place to just drop the stuff (Whether I need it or not - if I have to think twice about it, I just save it until the end of the school year or the semester or until I go through the file again and decide to get rid of it). Quick and easy.

Oh, and I agree with Talley Sue - you need to either find a way to put a filing cabinet in the kitchen or find a way to not bring the papers into the kitchen!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 6:22PM
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I see it that way too, that one needs to decide whether the kitchen will double as an office. I'm slowly moving my paperwork out of the kitchen (and I do mean slowly, like a glacier) into my laundry room, which is where the computer is, our crafts are stored, office supplies, etc. So that's my hope... it will take a while. But I have finally come to the conclusion that any amount of paperwork in my kitchen, save a few recipes or short term things waiting to get recorded onto the family calendar, will just invite an avalanche of paperwork into the kitchen. What Flylady says about 'hotspots' is all too true for me.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 7:46PM
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I have an open kitchen, living room situation and the computer is a laptop that I use only in the living room.

The drawers in the kitchen are large and would end up being a catch-all if I were to use them for papers.

Instead of moving the "office" out of the kitchen, I have been moving it into the kitchen. I must admit, though, I have a thing for containers and drawers. Strange, but true. I liked that craft cabinet because the drawers are small enough not to be a catch-all and I could use it as a filing cabinet that instead of vertical, would be horizontal. I might want an excuse to buy the cabinet but I am leaning towards it.

For those without recycling, do you bundle the newspapers and throw them out once a week or wait longer than that?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 8:37PM
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I'm like you in that I have a "thing" for little drawers and containers, etc. I like them just for themselves.

I love those little drawers, too, but I don't think you should use them for the ads. For one thing, then you'll add the task of sorting them out, etc.--chore clutter.

And, I like the idea of keeping them all in one place, and then throwing them all out at once when the new batch begins on Sunday morning, and if they were spread around among several drawers, then it would be harder to toss the old ones out.

In fact, I'm not sure you should be keeping the ads at all. What do you do w/ them--anything? And how often? Be honest, now--how much do you actually DO w/ them? Which ones are you keeping--and do you add new ones everyday, or just a few days a week? Do you use them to plan grocery shopping? And how often?

And is the savings that results worth the price you pay in physical clutter AND in "chore clutter"? What would happen if you just threw them out every day?

If you decide you still MUST keep them, try to keep fewer. Try to edit them down a bit before you put them in their waiting spot.

And I know you have a 5-drawer filing cabinet, but I think you need to get a smaller solution in the kitchen, for whatever types of paper it is that's piling up int he kitchen--don't fight those tendencies in yourself. Use them as signals for how you SHOULD organize your home. I think you're smart to move the "office" into the kitchen--it's what you WANT to do, so make it work.

Is one of the big drawers in the kitchen deep enough to hold hanging files? You can get freestanding racks for those files; would one fit? (they can usually be shortened; it's the height and the width that are not flexible). Then you can file stuff in the kitchen in existing infrastructure. You can have one folder for the ads, and insist on emptying it before you begin to fill it again.

(and in all honesty, you just need to make yourself stop being lazy, and make yourself toss the old stuff before you put the new in. Ask yourself, "if not now, then when?")

and the size of the file folder will keep you from just adding stuff in withut tossing.

Even the ads could fit there, in a place you get easily get them back out again.

Since you don't have recycling, and haven't found some other way to recycle your papers (giving them to the art class at high school, or to a dog pound, or to a farmer who uses them as bedding for his sheep), I think you should throw them out every day. Don't keep them around somewhere waiting for them to pile up and then get bundled; that adds "chore clutter" as well as physical clutter. Throw them out as soon as you've read them.

Or, if you find that other family members read them later in the day, find away to designate a spot for the papers (get one of those vertical sorters, and fold the paper up paper-boy style and stick it in one of the slots?), Then, when Wednesday's paper comes, you'll have to remove Tuesday's apper to make room for it. (label them if it'll help you stay on track!)

If you feel you need to keep a stash for stuff like painting projects, or whatever, designate a spot for them, and a height to the stack, and once you've filled it, then go back to tossing daily. Should you deplete the stack, you can accumulate a few more papers to fill it again. (but that stack doesn't need to be THAT huge--probably 8 inches high at most)

As before, I wish you luck!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 11:11AM
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Thank you for your posts. The height of my largest drawer is only 6 1/4" so this will not work for files. My other drawers are wider cutlery-type drawers.

I only keep the ads of those stores I might go to that week. We live an hour away from all of them and with the gas prices the way they are, we don't have a set time of going into the city.

I had purchased stackers that I put in my kitchen cabinet but it worked only for a short time. One shelf was for "to do" but I'd forget about doing anything because it was out of sight. I thought that the shelf I used for "to file" would force me to file more frequently but instead, I just moved the papers to the cabinet below.

So, I know I need a filing system in the kitchen. I have a desk that is oversized which seemed like a good idea when I bought it several years ago. My daughter moved back home and wants it out of "her" bedroom. I wanted to move it into the living room but dh is saying I should just throw it out. I guess he's right because if it were in the living room, it would just become another catch-all.

I will look into the alternatives of giving the newspapers away. There is a recycling place but I must bring it to them. Unfortunately, it's not a destination I usually go to. Anyone know if this would be tax deductible? That would be an incentive. There are sheep farms where I live and I didn't know they used newspapers. I'll check into that. There are also llama farms that are always looking for items. Maybe they need the newspapers. Talley Sue, you have given me some new ideas for the papers.

I am still leaning towards buying those drawers, if they still have them. Perhaps I was looking for the excuse to get them but they aren't expensive and I do have the room for them.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 2:36PM
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What has really worked for me in terms of getting me to file stuff - getting rid of a place to put stuff "to be filed". I used to put it on top of my 2 drawer file drawers. It would get to the point that I wouldn't file papers until the pile was falling off cabinet. When I got a four door file drawer and put a radio on top of that, my place for stashing stuff disappeared, it was now easy to file since the files weren't stufffed so tight, and now I just file things as needed without piling them. I get REALLY bad at piling if I can, but I've found that it's harder to find a good place to stash it than to just file it right away.

By the way, I don't mean to be pushy about the drawers, but could you get dividers and put a couple of categories of paper in one drawer? I have my newspaper ads in one side of a large drawer and some catalogs in the other side. I agree with you - sometimes it IS hard to pass up containers and things. I just have to be very wary in my case because it is easy to go overboard and have too much storage and not enough room.

Good luck with whatever you choose!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 9:55PM
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it is easy to go overboard and have too much storage and not enough room.

RJ, this is very profound.

We should all stop and ponder that for a minute.

I know those drawers are way cool, but I do agree w/ RJ that you need to consider whether they are a truly useful thing. They can easily be like cherry pitters or sandwich steamers or other kitchen gadgets--neat and clever, but not really USEFUL.

And some of what you need to do it just MAKE YOURSELF throw stff out or file it.

And seriously, consider throwing these things out instead of filing them. If you can move them to the cabinet below, then I bet you never needed them again, so why are you keeping them?

    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 9:37AM
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I am always afraid that the IRS will want all these paper copies. We do pay most things online so there is a record somewhere. And I know the bank has cancelled checks. Actually, I don't have anything older than 2 or 3 years and all the papers that are over 1 to 1 1/2 years are already filed in a box.

For the time being, I will need to weed out the files and put the ones I can't get rid of into the box with the other papers. Then I will file all the stuff I haven't gotten to into the filing cabinet for the past 3 months.

My problem is still knowing that I need a filing system in the kitchen. That is a given. The filing cabinet will probably be moved to the garage anyways. And I was thinking of using the cabinet in the kitchen as an interim fix. Organizing into it and then filing everything in the filing cabinet every few months.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 1:38PM
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Exactly WHAT sorts of stuff are you filing?

Only if you itemize will the IRS care. And then, you should store those specific pieces of paper with the tax returns, as documentation.

The IRS doesn't care about your phone bill, or your electric bill. Or your credit card bill. Or your kid's school expenses (though in my case, since I use a flexible spending plan for dependent care, I do save the receipts from the summer day camp--but nothing else).

If you buy something (like medication, if you itemize medical bills, which few people do) that qualifies as something being mentioned on the tax return, you should put it in a special folder for tax-return stuff, to keep.

But your monthly credit card statements aren't important; neither, honestly, are your monthly bank statements, once you're sure they're right.

Your monthly or quarterly investment reports aren't important (and the IRS doesn't want it)--only the opening paperwork is, or any paperwork that indicates actions YOU have taken (deposits, withdrawals, closing the account); the stuff that tells you how your stocks did in the last time period isn't important once you've looked at it. If you want to change your investment, you should call your broker; if you don't, toss it. Or keep NO MORE than 1 year's worth. so you can see how it's done int he last year.

I don't think you should use the kitchen cabinet as the interim fix. Having stuff that will need moving later is "chore clutter." I think you should KEEP whatever gets filed in the kitchen, IN the kitchen until it's time to throw it out (which should be soon--absolutely no more than 1 year)

*except for a short list* I don't think you should have anything older than 6 months--especially not since it messes up your life.

Seriously--what IS that paperwork about?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 4:10PM
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I am holding all the paperwork you mentioned that the IRS doesn't need like credit card statements, cable, phone, utilities, bank statements, etc. We don't itemize and don't own a business so I guess the IRS will hardly need any on my paperwork.

How long should I keep credit card, utility and bank statements?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2005 at 4:54PM
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This was really interesting-- paper is my big downfall and I really appreciated the comment about making it easy to put away so that it never "sits" in a holding place.

I am careful with the laundry to no longer leave it in a basket -- as it doesn't get put away if it goes into the basket. I'm much more successful if I just put things away directly from the laundry room.

We've reorganized our office space (at home and a new office) and I really need to make the filing process so easy that it happens ASAP.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 12:58AM
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credit card, I vote about three months--maybe six. Or toss immediately, perhaps. Be sure, however, that you look carefully at it when it arrives. (I keep a year, but never look at them--and, they dont' create a big mess for me. If they did, probably I'd throw them out the moment I paid them)

Utility statement, maybe a year if you are the sort of person who will look to see how much you spent last year (but my utility prints this on there, so I don't need them that long). One reason to perhaps keep at least a month, if not 3, is that sometimes utility bills are needed for proof of address, and you'll want to have one around in case you need it.

Bank statements, I don't know. I keep mine longer, but I *NEVER NEVER NEVER* look at them, except when they first arrive. Maybe a year's worth for now, and see what you think?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 10:32AM
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About recycling:

In CA, most everything was picked up curbside. Here, I can only recycle #1 and #2 plastic, and aluminum cans. Everything else has to be delivered somewhere else.

I do it because recycling is a habit to me. Too many years of doing it would cause more guilt than I can handle! LOL

However, a grammer school nearby has a bin for paper, so that is where I take newspapers and catalogs. It's a 45 minute drive to recycle cardboard. I have no reason personally to go out in that direction regularly. So we break down and stack the boxes flat in the garage. When the pile gets high enough, my husband plans an afternoon at the children's museum with our son. The recycling center is a few blocks away. He loads up the back of the van and dumps it on the way to the place.

Another thing that one can do with newspaper is composting. Composting requires 'browns' and 'greens'. Shredded paper counts as a brown.

You can also use it under mulch to discourage weeds or encroaching grass in the spring. Lay down about six layers of newspaper and cover with mulch. Can't see it. It will break down over the winter. Spring hits, much fewer weeds, you got rid of the newspaper and you've done your soil a favour.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 1:52PM
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I put all the papers into a large garbage bag and am still looking for a place to drop it off at. I tried calling some farms with animals but there was no answer. I will have to try again.

I started going through the filing cabinet this weekend. I combined 3 drawers into 1 drawer. There's a huge amount of paper that is now in the trash. By the look of the papers in there, it's been many years since I actually weeded any papers.

As far as filing anything new, I bought a large tin that was 1/2 off and put it in a kitchen cabinet. I decided that I will just continue to throw all the new things to file in there and every so often, file them into the filing cabinet I already have. I am basically doing the same thing as now except I have a place to actually put the items to file.

My next steps are to file all my papers from the kitchen. Then I need to go through the many papers I have been saving for years with the thought that I might need the information someday. Many go back to when the internet was just getting started. I wish I could throw them all out, sight unseen, but I know there are a few personal items in there that I would want to keep. At least I can locate where all these papers are (my bedroom drawer, one bin in the garage and 2 folders in the filing cabinet.

It's really tiring to go through all these papers but I'm glad I'm finally making headway.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 4:41PM
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Hooray for headway!!

By the look of the papers in there, it's been many years since I actually weeded any papers.

There's some evidence from your own life about how long you need to keep stuff. What types of stuff was it? That's the stuff you can toss right away.

Trust that evidence. Trust your own eyes. Trust your own judgment.

As for that tin--I say, throw the new things to file in there and every so often THROW THEM AWAY. OK, try filing them for a while--but keep my idea in the back of your mind.

Good luck w/ the next sorting project.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 5:03PM
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It was the stuff that dreams are made of. Many, many business ideas that got researched and to the point of starting but I always went onto another one instead of sticking with one. Some of them have already been put on the market but I still have a few that are great ideas. I guess my paper problems are part of a more serious issue. I just wish I could figure out what that issue really is.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 5:48PM
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I am also a paper junkie. Here's what works for me:

1) I cleaned out my file cabinet so the hanging files will slide and I can actually put in new papers.
2) My files are very general: Appliance directions, bank statements, utility bills, pay stubs, health insurance papers, credit card statements, car insurance papers, investments, etc. Gone are the days of separate files for separate utility companies! LOL Very important papers are in the safe deposit box at the bank since we rarely need them.
3) I write the checks the day the bills come, and walk the statement right to the cabinet and shove it in the file. It's less of an ordeal when there is only one or two to deal with (and believe me, it had become an ordeal).
4) CLEAN OUT THE BIG PAPER PILES WHEN YOU'RE IN A BAD MOOD. For me, this is key. I'm less likely to be sentimental or in a "keep it" mood.

ALSO: Empty space in your kitchen cupboards is a GOOD thing. Someday I will have empty space (I hope--it's a small kitchen). There is no reason to store things in your kitchen that you don't use or love.

AND ANOTHER THING: We are excellent at recycling here. Check with your local school system; ours are having paper drives again and have installed bins for drop-offs. However, if newspapers are stacking up at your house, just throw them out until you think of a better plan.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2005 at 8:22PM
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I finally filed all the papers in the house into the filing cabinet. It took less than a half hour to do but in reality in took me a month to get this done.

Now I just have to weed out my "personal tidbits and ideas" papers. Part of me just wants to throw it all out without even looking at them but I'm still chicken. I will probably go through a few and hopefully realize that all this information is on the internet should I ever need it. That is the logical side of me talking. I also have a pile of magazines that I will try to donate to the local hospital. Their selection isn't that great.

But today, I have promised myself to go through one of the cupboards and reorganize the boxes. Most are dh's papers and I'm going to move them to a place that will hold only his stuff. I figure it's better to sort out all the "storage boxes" in this manner. The other boxes in that cupboard are the photos which is another to do project of sorting them out. There are also framed pictures that I haven't put up on the walls in this house. Besides these, there are also 2 boxes of maps which I will have to weed out to make only one box. We belong to AAA so I know we can get recent maps if we need them.

Where would you put the box of maps? Do you have a special spot that's easily accessible?

Another project that is waiting are the cleaners. I have them on the top shelf in the hall closet but am thinking of moving them to the cupboards in the laundry room. I haven't utilized these cupboards because they are quite high. I do own a stool, though. Does is make sense that all cleaners be in the laundry room especially since the laundry detergents, etc. are there already?

By posting this, I hope to keep on track. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 10:34AM
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I moved all of DH's boxes into his "storage" spot. I've been wanting to do that for awhile so I'm glad it's finally done. I also reorganized the winter/summer stuff in my bedroom closet. I'm on a roll but I'm about to take a break. Hope I can get back into the groove soon.

I decided to go through the map boxes at night while watching TV.

I hope it's okay that I'm posting my progress as I get things done.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 12:37PM
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that's great, Marie--it's nice to hear about the steady progress.

Maps: I don't have a garage, so any maps and tourist books are in a magazine file on a top shelf. They're accessible if we're planning trips or tours of the city.

If I had a garage, I think I'd stash the maps in there somewhere, on the theory that I'd need them once I got in the car for a long trip, and then they'd be handy. We keep our atlas either in the car itself (though not usually, bcs we park on the street and don't want people to break in to try to steal it) or on the main bookshelf (sometimes it's handy on the bookshelf bcs if we want to plan a route it's available; but in all honesty, we seldom do that with ROAD maps; just city maps)

Or, frankly, I'd probably toss them in favor of an atlas. I buy my DH a new one every Christmas. Or, keep about 4 of the most common trips or nearby states, and then throw the rest.

Congrats on the filing success!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 12:46PM
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I've been watching your progress, Marie. Keep going.

Maps. I had to laugh at that one. Alaska doesn't have many roads. One going north, one south and one east. If you can see the sun, you can't get lost. Anything else and you better be on a plane.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 3:19PM
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I keep my maps in the car, because that's where I am when I'm lost.

Marie----TOSS BOTH MAP BOXES! You can get updated ones from AAA as you need them and start fresh.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 5:27PM
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I thought I should check in. I didn't plan on doing this today but I ended up cleaning out the garage. Even sweeping the floor. My garbage pail is overflowing and I still have 2 days until garbage day.

I found the rest of my personal papers and have them in the garage by the steps, ready to go through. This is probably what started the garage cleanup. Including what is in a drawer in my bedroom,the papers I've staged on a chair in the living room, the filing cabinet folders and the garage, I'd say I have about 4 bins of papers to go through. But this time I will be ruthless. I never want to have to do this again. And when it's done, DH can't complain that I have all this stuff. He will be the one with ALL the boxes of papers, not me.

Tomorrow will be laundry room cleanup day. I also have to clean the house. I think that's another reason I ended up doing the garage. I wanted to show I did something today but I had no urge to clean the house.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 6:25PM
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Marie26, isn't it amazing what we can accomplish when we're avoiding cleaning the rest of the house!

I know exactly what you mean about DH's and papers. The problem I have is that my husband feels that any paper that isn't solely his, is mine. That includes ALL household paper, including the kids. I'm hoping to get enough cleared out that it is SO obvious that only "his" stuff is left laying around....

    Bookmark   October 18, 2005 at 5:35PM
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Julie, my husband is exactly the same (any paper that isn't solely his, is mine). Mine is probably worse, though, because he'll never put any of his papers away so it's always my fault when one of his papers gets misplaced.

I did the laundry room today and still avoided cleaning the house. I'm not sure what I'll work on tomorrow if I don't do the cleaning.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2005 at 8:15PM
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there's an advantage to having your DH delegate all that paperwork to you--you can throw it away without asking him!

Marie26, take a really GOOD look at the crud behind the toilet--down there on the floor.

That ought to get you motivated to take care of ALL those boxes of paper, LOL!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2005 at 9:32PM
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OH NO Talley Sue, that's not how I do it AT ALL!

Since I'm in charge of paperwork for 3 people, 2 houses, insurance forms, investment statements, bills, junk mail, etc., I ask him about ALL HIS papers.

Things like, "Honey, do you need this receipt for $2 from the grocery store? Are you saving this alumni magazine? Do you want this ad from your car dealership? Are you finished with the sports page from 4 days ago?"

I keep hoping it will drive him crazy and he'll get the hint and start picking up after himself.

I am pleased to report this morning there there are no visible paper hot spots in places where paper shouldn't be.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2005 at 5:14AM
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For the first time yesterday, when dh went through his mail, he actually sorted out the junk mail and put away his other papers. Maybe this was because he started with a clean slate since I had filed/thrown out all the papers in his stack on the kitchen island. Or maybe it's because we lost a $15.00 coupon to his favorite store that he thought was in that pile before I did the filing.

I'll be shocked, though, if he continues to do this. But at least for today, I am enjoying a kitchen with no clutter on the counters at all.

Talley Sue, you are right. I'd rather sort than clean. There is a TV show that dd has been wanting me to watch that will have the first 3 episodes on Sunday. DH doesn't want to watch it so I'll just hang out in the bedroom with my papers and start then. I don't want to go through all my stuff in front of DH because I know he'll just make comments about what I am doing. Besides, I feel personal papers should be sorted out during alone time. Does this make any sense to anyone else?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2005 at 10:53AM
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I thought I'd give my progress, if only to keep myself on track. I finally went through the 3 map boxes. It took me just over 2 hours to do and I ended up throwing out one overstuffed kitchen garbage bag. There are now 3 small plastic containers that are organized by city maps and tour guides, state and regional maps and maps of foreign countries. I had requested maps and a tour guide yesterday from AAA for an upcoming trip. I already had the tour guide. Next time, I can easily look to see what my needs really are. I found some maps from the mid 90's. I don't think I had ever gone through these maps before.

My next big project are my personal papers. But I'm determined to finally do it.

I did clean the bathroom but I still haven't tackled the dusting and vacuuming. It definitely is easier to sort than clean, at least for me.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2005 at 2:52PM
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Oh, I like these updates, Marie--thanks for posting them.

It inspires me, and I like the chance to cheer for you.

congrats on the maps.

You CAN do the personal papers. You WILL. I'm counting on it.

Remember, you needn't do them all at once. Just 15 minutes is enough for the start.

And be ruthless--make those papers EARN their spot in your home!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2005 at 5:50PM
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This afternoon I gave myself a time limit to clean the house and finally got it done. I even washed the kitchen floor. Yeah! Now I have no more excuses about not going through those papers, which is a good thing.

Talley Sue, since you've been reading my posts on the Wedding forum, you know I do have an ulterior motive to get this house in order. And I can honestly say that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2005 at 6:40PM
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Keep it up. I can tell you that the cleaning will be much easier as you get these piles gone.

How are you doing with the newspapers? I feel guilty, but I've tried the recycling, and we end up with tons in the garage before we go. Now, If the paper hasn't been read by the time I clean up the kitchen for the night, I just put it in the trash unread. That was really hard for me, but I need a clutter free home more than I need to read every little tidbit of news. I never keep the ads. In fact, I throw them away first thing.

My DH runs his office out of the home, so we have to keep track of all of the household costs for taxes. We have found that by scanning them into a PDF, we can keep really good records. Our home system is backed up nightly and off site monthly which helps the fear factor.

Is it a guy thing to read junk mail? My DH actually reads all of it, so I purge it out of the mail if I get to it first.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2005 at 8:18PM
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I still have the newspapers. They are on the bench in the foyer in a large garbage bag. And the bag is just about full so I know I'll have to divide it into a box or another bag just to move it. I really need to take care of this. I just can't see throwing them out when I know I should be recycling.

Before now, though, they were a mess on the bench but at least they are neat until I take care of them.

I must admit I'm exhausted right now from the things I've done this week. I think I'm going to take the next couple of days off to just lay back and watch some movies.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2005 at 12:29AM
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I thought I'd give another update. I finally finished going through all of my "personal" papers bins. They were already somewhat organized. I didn't remember doing that. Anyways, I divided up all the kids school papers and put each into their own large envelope. I will now give them their papers. I realize these are more meaningful to them than me. I threw out a bunch of stuff but kept another large envelope of brochures, postcards and correspondence from our trips. One day, I'd love to do a collage from some of these.

I also filed some other items, such as politial information that I've kept from a few articles in the papers over the years as well as campaign info. Besides that, there were a few comic strips that I had cut out.

I put a bunch of telephone numbers and business cards that I had collected through the years together in an envelope in my "junk" drawer. That will also have to be gone through again as well as another drawer in the kitchen that I've been using as a staging place. And I finally did my party box.

Now I have other projects to do. They are:

Go through all the stationery and office products. I have tons. This has always been a weakness of mine and now I am paying for it by needing to organize all of it. I just hate to throw good stuff out, especially if it is something we probably will use. It's more of how many of something do we need. I'll have to make some tough decisions.

Then there are the photos. I'd like to go through this and give each of the kids a bunch of photos to keep.

There is also a box that has just about every employment letter I've ever sent out as well as copies of all my resumes through the years. We've moved alot, so I was always looking for new jobs. Again, I'll have to be ruthless in weeding this one out.

I have 3 boxes of games that I will be giving many away.

There is a box that I've been using as a staging place for some projects that I've been working on. I will have to go through this box and sort it out properly.

I still have a bunch of shoes to try on that I haven't worn them in years although most are newer. (I had foot surgery and although I am finally able to wear "normal" shoes, I've bought new pairs). I think I will give most of these to one of my daughters because she is the same shoe size and, as I said, they are fairly new. Besides, she has asked for them

And finally, there is a large cabinet in the garage of books and more papers and binders and office supplies that I will have to be ruthless and weed out. This will be my biggest challenge because I think I need everything in there. When do we reach the point that what we are keeping is worth keeping?

I'm sorry this was so long but the thought of having to post my progress here has really kept me on track. Whenever I wanted to slack off today, I just kept telling myself that I wanted to post about completing a task.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2005 at 12:34AM
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I went through the job search box. It took only about 1 1/2 hours to do. I ended up sorting the papers into large envelopes that now is only 4" tall. At some point, I'll weed one of those envelopes out but I'm happy with what I did so far. At least I have another empty box and a large bag of trash.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2005 at 2:15PM
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Besides, she has asked for them

Bye-bye, shoes!! Don't even try them on--pack them up and ship them off! One thought--after "years," many shoes end up w/ dried-out glue on the insole; unless you want to pay to have that reglued, "Dormant" shoes are actually at risk of deterioration. So be skeptical.

And you know what, you deserve new shoes after all the frustration and discomfort of your foot surgery!

stationery and office products: I'm a bit like you--I love this stuff. But, also like you, I don't use it at the rate that I can buy it. Which means, I have too much. There is no debate--if you have stuff you're not using up in a year, you simply have too much.

I've actually gotten downright ruthless. My vote: Take most of this stuff to work and put it on the giveaway shelf. Or whatever equivalent. Give extra pens to a teacher. Pass it on. It doesn't matter whether it's "still good" in some mythical way. It isn't doing YOU any good, is it? It gets in the way, eats up time. And is squandering its lift while it languishes in your drawers or on your shelves.

Vow to keep very little. In fact, without looking in the drawers or on the shelves, make a list of what you think you *ought* to have--how much stationery at a time? What kinds of glue? or paper clips? Then, only fill that list.

(remember that having a lot of stationery means you can't buy any NEW stuff, no matter how great the stuff in the stores is)

. It's more of how many of something do we need. 5, is my limit on individual things. 5 twist ties, 5 duck sauce packets, 5 refill rolls of scotch tape. Or, if they come in boxes of multiples, one box. One box of staples; one box of paper clips. One folder of "memories"; one folder of old resumes and clips; one folder of craft ideas. One package of paper plates; one package of plastic flatware.

That's all, at a time. I will not use up those paper clips soon enough to warrant keeping all 10 little boxes around. Ditto all the other things--it's not possible for me to actually DO more than one folder's worth of craft ideas--not in my lifetime.

I know that when I buy paperclips, I end up w/a ton if I get them at Staples. Bcs the jumbo multipack is the same price as a single pack. So I give the extras away.

I figure, I am NOT going to pay even MORE than the purchase price--remember what you wrote? "I am paying for it by needing to organize it.

Try to cut "expenses"--try to value your TIME and your ENERGY as much as you do your actual cash. (a hard transition--not one I've completely made, but I'm getting better w/ practice)

When do we reach the point that what we are keeping is worth keeping?

There's the $50 question! I think it's different for everyone. But honestly, if you've lived w/ it in the garage and haven't gone to actually get it (or haven't wanted to but chickened out bcs the garage is cold), you don't need it. Honest, you don't.

You'll have to find your own comfort zone w/ this. My own opinion, from way over here, is that you've already kept stuff you should have tossed (campaign info? some of those phone numbers & business cards?).

But, I'm perhaps further along the frustration line (I value the freedom from worrying about these papers more than I value the comfort or history the papers give me), and more trusting of my ability to re-get what I need (or cope if I can't), and more honest w/ myself about whether I should keep comic strips or interesting articles I read, and more willing to let some things (old resumes, even old clips) slide into the past. So I may not be the best judge of what's "worth keeping" for you.

And remember that even if you postpone a decision (as w/ those phone numbers & business cards), each time you evaluate "should I keep this?", you'll get closer to the final answer of what's worth keeping. So many people talk about how they get more and more willing to let go of stuff as they move along.

They start to enjoy the empty space (or the elbow room in their storage space); they learn to trust that they'll be OK if they throw that folder of papers out (bcs they see that they are OK without it); they see the same stuff often enough to realize that they haven't wanted it since the last 6 times they "organized it."

Hooray for all that progress you've been making! Not only are you making order (and even room) in your house, but you are educating yourself about what is "truly worth keeping" in your home!

Keep us posted--this is fun! Vicarious organization and decluttering!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2005 at 4:07PM
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I finally finished (re)organizing the stationery/office products. At the same time, I was able to clean out the junk drawer which is now almost empty. I have drawers that this stuff was always in but now it is more organized than I ever managed to do before. This time, I used plastic bags and rubber bands to keep like things together. I put the items that I use regularly in plastic bags in the junk drawer in the kitchen.

The items I have multiples of are boxes of staples, staplers, and scotch tape. I think I win a record for having the most scissors. I hate to admit that I own 22 pairs. I don't even do scrapbooking and usually just tear out coupons instead of cutting them. I really don't know where they came from.

My next project was supposed to be the cabinet in the garage this afternoon because the weather is pretty good. But it's dh's birthday, so I need to clean up and concentrate on supper.

Hopefully, I'll get to the cabinet tomorrow.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 3:21PM
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We buy more scissors, whatever, because we can't find what we need, when we need it. Now that you have a pair for the kitchen, desk, your jar with pencils, etc. it's time to put 18 of those scissors in the give away bag.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 6:01PM
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I thought that if I took them to Goodwill, the people there would think I must have an ulterior motive as to why I own so many pairs. But I did buy my granddaughter a new kids pair 2 weeks ago because I had no idea where the previous one I bought was. It is a good feeling to now be able to find all these things.

I noticed a box on top of the cabinet in the garage this afternoon. I have a feeling it's more office supplies. I'll open it tomorrow.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 7:13PM
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....each time you evaluate "should I keep this?", you'll get closer to the final answer of what's worth keeping. So many people talk about how they get more and more willing to let go of stuff as they move along....

Talley Sue, you're definitely describing ME! This is exactly why I can clean the same drawer every 6 months and continue to pare the contents by half when nothing was added in the interim.

And I continue to be amazed at how much stuff I eliminate was NOT ours to begin with.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 5:45AM
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Julie, you hit the nail on the head -- stuff that was NOT ours to begin with.

At different points in my life I've had stuff that belonged to my late MIL, my favorite cousin, my sisters, and my own parents and I haven't been able to part with lots of it simply because it belonged to them (and in my mother's case, I might hear about it if I got rid of it -- though that has become a much smaller issue of late since she joined FlyLady herself).

I've been paring back and paring back for years, and I'm still not done. I did finally get rid of all the extra "someone might need this someday can you store it for me?" furniture in my basement, but I still haven't parted with the MIL's shrimp forks, lol.

It's just a matter of continuing to go through stuff and get rid of it as I'm able.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 9:11AM
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I did the cabinet in the garage today. I organized it in such a way that when I get to the staging box in the living room, I will be able to organize into the cabinet. I noticed that I am missing my label maker. There are still 3 boxes of games to go through from the move last December. I'm hoping they were mislabeled and the label maker is in there.

Besides the staging box, I need to go through some more personal papers and take my folders out of the filing cabinet and put them into the garage cabinet in the empty binders that I have.

Looking back on what I've done so far, it appears that I am making great headway. I'm pleased with myself.

I have an old miniature violin that the handle is off. But my late mother had played it and it's hard for me to part with. What should I do with it?

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 7:08PM
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Marie - could you put the violin in a shadow box and display it? I am planning to do this with a collection of umbrella handles from my grandmother.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 9:34AM
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The shadow box is a wonderful idea. I hadn't thought of that.

I hope I'm not boring anyone with my updates but checking in helps me.

I finished the game boxes in the garage. The label maker was in one of the boxes as well as a bicycle helmet and more papers that I had to go through. There are a lot of games to be given away.

I still have to organize a box of papers in the living room and move them to the garage cabinet. There are papers in my bedroom and the filing cabinet that need to be better organized and moved to the cabinet as well. Then I will have all my personal papers organized and in one place.

There is also one drawer left in the kitchen to go through but it's not really that bad. Then I need to put all those shoes in a box for dd to go through. Also, I will need to throw out most of those business cards and phone numbers that I (stupidly) mixed with my current ones.

There are the photo boxes to sort so I can give away a bunch of the photos. Also, I now have a box of computer stuff that I need to weed out. And I still have a very messy curio cabinet. I should better organize my nighttable drawers at some point as well.

This really is neverending. I hope to say one day it's all done. After so many years of collecting and moving, I'm surprised I was able to find anything at all. I think living in a smaller place has forced the issue because, besides the garage, there is only a linen closet that I have been able to hide anything in.

At least all the bins are empty. The one thing I have learned from this experience is that the filing cabinet for personal (research) projects was a terrible idea for me. If I don't see something staring me in the face, I tend to ignore it. So, organizing everything into the cabinet will finally force me to take ownership of all this stuff.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 3:28PM
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I enjoy your updates. It's encouraging to know other people are trying to accomplish things, too.

Some days I swear I feel like the only person in the world with clutter issues, then I come here and feel better.

A shadow box seems like the perfect solution for the violin!


    Bookmark   October 28, 2005 at 7:20PM
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Yesterday, I cleaned out that one drawer in the kitchen. And several more "personal" folders that were in the filing cabinet. These were refiled properly or put with my other personal papers.

I now have to go through the final "personal papers" that are now in a dresser drawer. I didn't know where they should end up but I had a lightbulb moment when I was at the store this morning. I already have one not very big bin with personal papers in the garage that I have kept for many years (and will not get rid of). Today, I purchased one that is a bit bigger. I am going to put all these organized personal papers along with the papers from the original bin into this new container. That way, I will only own one bin of personal stuff. I hadn't gone through any of these papers in years so making the original bin just a bit bigger is a bonus for me.

After that, my next project will be to organize all my "project" papers that have been staged in the living room. They will go into the cabinet in the garage.

Whenever I'm on this forum, I end up feeling guilty that I have kept any personal papers. Please tell me that hanging onto 1 bin is not ridiculous, considering that I'm 54 years old.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2005 at 2:38PM
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Keep all the personal papers you need (I said OK, so stop feeling guilty). You're doing great, and having the papers in one spot instead of in every room (I'm exaggerating) in the house is a big organizing step, and you'll know exactly where something is if you ever want to look at it.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2005 at 4:54PM
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Marie, I'm 49 and I guess I don't understand what you are keeping.

I have a file of personal stuff relating to my job. Transcripts, records of employment, etc. Each family member has a banker's type box to keep momentos. I have things like my yearbooks and cards in mine. DH keeps his scout badges and even his music from high school marching band in his. I don't care what anyone keeps as long as it isn't more than the box.

Remember The Bridges of Madison County where the kids had a hard time after reading the mom's personal papers? I decided there was quite a chunck of my earlier days that my kids didn't need to see after I'm gone. Old letters and even pictures of those earlier, not so sober and not so clothed times went in the trash. Cards and letters from old boyfriends I don't even remember. Especially stuff from the ex.

No one is going to tell you what is important to you or what you should or should not keep. Just keep in mind that it takes a bunch of energy, both physical and emotional, to keep track of this stuff and move it around. It has to be worth it to you to use your energy this way.

Keep going on the stuff that obviously can be gotten rid of and worry about the personal stuff on your next paper purge.


    Bookmark   October 30, 2005 at 4:58PM
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I have some papers that I consider "mementoes"--stuff from high school, college, clubs, etc. I've found that when I go through them to weed them out, I remember whole chunks of my life that I'd forgotten.

And I'm glad to remember those parts of my life. (My kids won't "get it," when they go through those papers, but there's nothing embarrassing.)

So, I've decided to keep them. I don't look at them very often--7 years of ago between attempt to purge. But when I do, I get a whole dose of my past. A dose I'm GLAD to get. And, each time I try to purge, I do let go of 2 or 3 papers.

But I don't apologize for those things. They are my scrapbook (and they take up less space than a scrapbook, bcs I don't have to store the scrapbook itself).

I think the idea of consolidating them into 1 box is good. There *is* a cost associated w/ keeping them (not a monetary one; an energy one), and putting them in a single, easy-to-use, durable box will halve that "cost." Look how "frugal" you're being!

(If your papers are a bit like mine, you'll also be doubling their OUTPUT--bcs should you go through them, you'll have the whole stash at once, and get to look at them all, instead of only a part at a time)

I'm one of the voices that keeps encouraging you to ditch stuff, but I dont' th ink you should ditch it ALL. Just the parts that truly don't matter.

And only you can decide what doesn't matter. Some stuff, you do keep. Even if it doesn't seem "useful"--my 4-H papers and Drama Club papers ARE useful. I don't *do* those things anymore, but the papers serve me when I look at them again.

I love the way Gloria said it:

No one is going to tell you what is important to you or what you should or should not keep. Just keep in mind that it takes a bunch of energy, both physical and emotional, to keep track of this stuff and move it around. It has to be worth it to you to use your energy this way.

Congrats on your brainstorm, and good luck in your future progress.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2005 at 11:37AM
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I finally finished putting ALL my personal papers into my new bin. The other one is now empty and the new one still has some room left in it (good or bad). I was even able to weed out more papers and put aside the kids papers that were in there to give to them.

Talley Sue, you are right in your thinking that each time I go through this box, it just brings back good (and some sad) memories.

Next are my "project papers" that are staged in the living room. They will end up in the garage cabinet, completely organized.

This is the first time in my entire life that I can say that any of "my" papers will be in 2 spots and easily accessible.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2005 at 12:56PM
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Congratulations! I'm sure having the personal papers put in one place is a load off your mind. Feels good, doesn't it!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2005 at 5:25PM
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I am ready to cry!

I was almost finished putting items on the last shelf in the cabinet and one side of the cabinet fell apart! Literally! Folders with papers and books flew all over the floor (and my foot) and the 4 shelves fell on top of each other. This cabinet wasn't right when we moved in here in January and the movers had sent someone to fix it. I called them and they're sending the same guy back but he might not show up for several weeks. I can't even close the cabinet.

I am so upset because a portion of my organizing is gone Also, I won't be able to do the final organizing of putting the information into binders because I'm afraid of touching the other side of the cabinet where this all is.

I know I can't give up but this is so frustrating, especially since I only had several more hours work in that cabinet. I hope I can get my determination back but for the moment, at least, it's all gone.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 3:54PM
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Oh, go ahead and cry. maybe it'll make you feel better.

I sure would want to! What a bummer!

Frankly, esp. if you think it will be a while before it gets fixed, I'd get some cardboard boxes, and gingerly unpack that cabinet. Get an extra set of hands to help you. See if you can arrange that in some way that eases the stress on the lumber. And you.

Seriously. Because leaving it standing half-broken can lead to MORE damage. Try to unload it, to reduce the stress on the shelves, etc. And see how you can either prop

You'll find that REorganizing the stuff the fell out will go faster than you think--it always does, once the foundation is created. And you've made that foundation. You did the hard part. Now you'll just put them back in the spot you ALREADY picked for them.

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 4:09PM
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Thanks, Talley Sue. I already put all the items from that top shelf into a box. I suppose I could go through that box and organize it (again). This has forced me to put that on my "soon to do" list. Originally, I had not planned on doing this in the immediate future. Well, maybe it's just as well that it happened. Now I'll have to take care of 6 shelves in the cabinet instead of the 2 that I had targeted. At least there are 4 shelves that are still standing on the other side that are perfectly organized.

Looking back at my post, I realize I did write it in a moment of despair. Nothing like getting on a roll and something stopping you dead in your tracks.

Actually, at this point, I hope the cabinet is deemed unfixable and the moving company will give me the replacement cost (that we have) for a new one. I know dh would love this because he thinks the cabinet is oversized and during each move, he begs me to get rid of it. I, however, love the cabinet and had gotten a great deal on it.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 5:27PM
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It's a sign! I'm tellin' you it's a sign!!!

Okay, how in the heck does a cabinet fall apart? I have a corner cabinet I wish would fall apart. It's the last thing from my husband's bachelor days.

"At least there are 4 shelves that are still standing on the other side that are perfectly organized." Ooo, there's those dreaded words again.

Sounds like boxing it up for a big is your best bet.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 6:29PM
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Make that "sounds like boxing it up for a BIT is your best bet."

I wish they had spell/grammar check on these things. I don't like opening up a word processing doc.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2005 at 6:34PM
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Marie, as TS expressed, it is indeed an bummer! I'm not sure now whether you want this cabinet or not however IF you do, I'd be calling that company back, telling them it may NOT be 'several weeks' and that either (example) Thursday or Friday works for you. I'm getting this cabinet problem resulted from their poor workmanship in the first place and has now caused YOU a large mess. As well, if you really would prefer a new cabinet, pushing them (giving them the alternative) may achieve that result.

Just my thots FWIW.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2005 at 1:53PM
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I took everything out of the side of the cabinet that fell apart. There are two sides to the cabinet and each side has a bifold door. Luckily, the other side is still okay.

When I took everything out, I organized the books and papers into boxes, while weeding out some that will go into the trash. It's a good thing I had cleaned out my garage because I had room for these newly filled boxes. I noticed that the inner side of the side is all crushed in on the top. The shelves are all scratched up as well. I don't think the cabinet is repairable and I will demand the replacement cost for a new one should I be correct. Now I have to do research to find the cost.

I did organize almost all of the paperwork on the other side of the cabinet. I don't know why it took so many years to organize this properly but I should look ahead and know that the information I am saving will be so much easier to get to. It is all neatly in plastic sleeves in binders on one shelf. Before, I had empty binders on one shelf and papers in various parts of the house. All I have left to organize is one large envelope of some more papers (hopefully by tomorrow).

Then my paper problem will be solved, once and for all. Besides my one bin of keep forever personal papers, I have 3 small bins of papers, etc. for 3 different projects and the one shelf of binders. There is still the one drawer in the filing cabinet that is holding the household papers.

Then, it's time to do the photos.

I have a question regarding computer books. I have books on excel, etc. that are earlier versions from what I have on my computer now. Are these books useless or worth keeping? I don't own any updated versions of these books.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2005 at 5:07PM
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I would keep the books if you don't have updated version and you actually look up information from time to time. If they just sat on the shelf and you didn't look things up for the last two years, then off they go.


    Bookmark   November 6, 2005 at 9:23PM
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Marie, EXCELLENT progress! Pat yourself on the back for me.

LOL... I was going to say TOSS the Excel books! Once you are familiar with the program basics, the online Help should be Ok for you. Looking at old books means you miss the updated features in the new program.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2005 at 6:30AM
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I just reread some of the posts. I finished the photos today. It only took a few hours to organize, partly because only 1/2 were unorganized. I put aside a bunch of photos for each of the kids. I couldn't yet let go of most of those when they were younger but the fact that I was able to let go of any at all is a big step for me. Anyways, I now have all the photos, including those that are framed and won't be put up in this house, in one big box. I put the box in the garage near the garage door which I realized I will have to move somewhere else so that I can be assured of no water damage. I think I should buy another large plastic bin to put the photos into instead of the box so that they will stay dry.

I also went through all the medicines and most have been thrown out.

I still have some boxes in the living room that I had organized which still have to be moved to the garage. I'd gotten so used to them being there that they became part of the room's decor.

I also went through my nighttable and was able to empty one drawer.

Another thing I did was put together more kitchen items that I will offer to my kids. I did this when I organized the pantry and couldn't take the mess these items were making on one of the shelves. I knew I was only using a few of them, so I finally realized I didn't need the rest. If I do need something again, I can buy it.

I haven't gone through my shoes yet but will just ask my daughter what she wants when she visits next weekend and decide then if I want to keep any. I'll also let her look at my cookbooks and decide which of those she chooses to give to her. It's easier for me to do this than decide ahead of time what I want to keep.

One last thing. I made a breakthough. My 3-year-old gd has been staying with us for awhile. She will be going home in a week and a half. One of the things we had bought her were plastic beads which she was enjoying. Then they became a mess around the house and she wouldn't keep them together in one place. I threw them out. I never did this when my own kids were young. I finally realized it is easier to get rid of something she wasn't into anymore than fight about the mess they were making.

I think I'm just about done with my organizing. There is a pile of magazines that I can go through to cut out articles but I might just donate all of them instead of bothering with it.

So now I will have no more excuses not to get to those projects that are in the binders in my cabinet.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2005 at 1:17AM
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"I'd gotten so used to them being there that they became part of the room's decor"

This is so true, isn't it? Our place is only about 80% complete for the remodel and most of the things left are finishing things like baseboard, paint and light fixtures. When someone comes over and remarks about the bare bulbs still hanging, I'm almost startled. I really have gotten use to them.

And yes, just get rid of those magazines without going through them. There will be plenty more articles in the next batch.


    Bookmark   November 26, 2005 at 3:05AM
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Marie -
Progress! Itn't it great?

The newspapers need to go! Are there any drop-off bins for them? If you find a bin along a route you often take, you can mke it go along with shopping ... papers go out to make room for groceries in.

If your area is just not easy to recycle in, and there are no organizations that have "paper drives" ... trash them.

The ads are short-term promotions. There will be more with the next newspaper.
Would this work?

1. Coupons for things you buy? Cut them out and put them in a coupon wallet. Discard the rest of the ads.

2. Ads for things you need REAL SOON! Clip the ad for that thing and put it in your wallet as a reminder to buy it. Discard the rest of the ads. Throw out the ad as soon as you buy the product.

3. Ads for things you will need eventually (if you are planning a remodel or refurnish), or ads for "I can make that!" items. Clip the ad for that thing and put it in a folder labeled "Future Furniture" or whatever as a reminder to buy it. Discard the rest of the ads.

Notice that you are only keeping the few square inches of paper that is of interest, not 8 sheets of it.

With this approach, I turn a stack of Sunday ads into 15-20 coupons, and maybe a clip in a file folder of gardening ideas. A whole home and garden magazine becomes a few additions to the recipe folder and a clipping in a "How to" folder.

"filled a large garbage bag with unneeded stuff. It's in the corner of the garage for now because there are things in there that my kids might need for their kitchens."

How old are the kids? Unless they are within a year or so of moving out, the stuff might not be worth the space it's taking up. And storing in bags doesn't work well - they don't stack tidily and the stuff breaks. If it's worth keeping, store it securely in boxes that stack.

"5-drawer filing cabinet"
Storing at the point of need tends ot keep clutter down more than a huge storage place that isn't convenient.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2005 at 11:42AM
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I threw out all the newspapers because it's too difficult to take them for recycling. I've been throwing them out regularly since I got rid of the first batch. I feel bad doing this but since there's no recycling in this area, I have no choice.

I keep the ads that I might use in a folder in the kitchen drawer and swap them each week. This has been working well for me. I now also cut out any coupons I might use as soon as I get them.

All my kids are coming in this week for my daughter's wedding. One is coming by car and I know she needs kitchen items, etc. The one getting married also needs items but she is traveling by plane so it might be too difficult for her to take back some things. It's in everybody's best interest to have them look through all the items I don't use anymore. I've had a hang-up when it comes to purchasing kitchen items so there's a lot for them to check out.

I am now only using the filing cabinet for household papers. I was so excited when I bought it, but it just doesn't work for me. The binder system I've set up will work so much better. The filing cabinet became an out of sight, out of mind problem for me. The binders are more in my face and I've been able to organize within these binders.

I will offer the magazines to the kids when they are here. The daughter who is coming in by car and I have swapped magazines in the past. Hopefully, she'll take them. Unlike (the old) me, she's really good about getting rid of stuff when she's done with it.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2005 at 5:06PM
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I threw out all the newspapers because it's too difficult to take them for recycling. I've been throwing them out regularly since I got rid of the first batch. I feel bad doing this but since there's no recycling in this area, I have no choice.



And that's right, you have no choice. So don't feel bad. Your municipality has decided that this is the most effective way for them to deal w/ newspapers.

And congrats on adapting to the binder system. i think it's important to recognize what works, and stop trying to force ourselves to use the stuff that doesn't.

Thanks for the update!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 11:33AM
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BYE BYE NEWSPAPERS! Hooray for you! We quit taking the daily metro paper because by the time I got around to reading it after work, I'd heard the news on the car radio. The local paper is only twice a week, and we pick up the Sunday paper after church (believe it or not, it's cheaper at the drug store!).

Now that you have everything packed up and out of the house, remember this:

What the kids don't take should be donated ASAP. You don't need it, they don't need it, but someone somewhere does. Get rid of it before you decide to hang on a little longer!

Hope your daughter's wedding was a happy day for all!


    Bookmark   December 3, 2005 at 4:20PM
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The kids were here last weekend but 2 arrived very late Friday night for their sister's wedding on Saturday. The only things I was able to give to them were the photos I had put aside for each child and the school papers. They enjoyed receiving these so much and they all had good laughs when looking at the photos. My son was shocked that I still had these photos. He had assumed that they were lost.

It feels good to have the photos and papers given to their rightful owners. I still have some photos of when they were very young as well as some that were from special events. But they have the majority of "their" photos.

I will have to make some decisions regarding the kitchenware and games in the garage. It is so cold here that I'll have to wait until I can stand to be in the garage for more than 10 seconds. Also, the fix-it guy never did come back to fix my cabinet. I need to get those items that are now in bins and boxes back in the cabinet. I do need to weed out more stuff. I have so many how-to books that I've purchased throughout the years and can't seem to part with them. Please give me permission to let them go!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 8:04PM
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Aren't those how to books just right up there with the magazines for holding promise?

Really, really just let those books go to the thrift store, so that some poor soul out there will buy them and be able to do all of the things they have only dreams of, but never knew how to do!!!


    Bookmark   December 8, 2005 at 11:29PM
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if you haven't done those how-to things, you probably won't. You'll get inspired by something new.

Get rid of them, and the idea of doing a craft, or a repair, or whatever, will stop seeming like "a chore I've never gotten around to" and will again feel like "a cool new project to play with."

Also, technology has changed. Glues are different; clays are different; etc. So to make the same sort of a thing as in that old magazine, you may not be able to find the same products--and there may be new stuff you can use that will be easier to use, more effective, prettier looking, etc.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 12:14PM
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Those how-to books are all about starting a business. All those binders and folders are various business ideas I've had through the years. I can give 1,000 excuses why I never actually started my own little business but I need to stop that behavior and "Just do it". The ideas in binders already are well researched. Those in folders are not. I just have to figure out which idea to go forward with first.

So, should these "how to start a business" and "how to do a business plan" books be gotten rid of? I've hardly ever looked at them and bought most when they were on clearance.

I don't live anywhere near a university or I would take a course instead of trying to figure this out on my own.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 1:30PM
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I would still get rid of them. My parent's owned a business, both of my DH's have been self-employeed and owned their own businesses, my brother and SIL have had their own business. I have a small business on the side of my teaching job. Even my elementary school aged kids are setting something up for next spring to sell worms to the bait shops.

What's holding you back? The SBA has a huge amount of information if you are needing loans, etc. Otherwise it is more of a "hold your nose and jump in" type thing. The learning comes with the doing. And a good accountant and attorney.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 4:43PM
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