Saturday, January 31, 2009

Organizing Junkie's January Round-Up!!!

I participated (for the first time) this month in Organizing Junkie's Monthly Round-up! This month's task was files-those pesky paper piles!! Yeah, I know a little bit about that!! Using Laura's PROCESS method, I'll explain what happened around here in January(Well, at least in the den!)

P: Planning for Your Project

Obviously, I'm working on with my filing system (: I looked at the areas that are involved in my filing system that I am having issues with. Overall, I have a functional filing system that basically works for me. It just needs some tweaking.

1. PUTTING ALL OF MY FILES IN ONE PLACE: In the past, I have, for some reason, had an "active" file and an "inactive" file. The thinking behind this was, well... I'm not sure. It sounded like a good idea at the time! The lines became a little blurry, and I ended up using both. I decided to put them all together in one place. *Just a note.. I don't use traditional filing cabinets. I like my files to be sorta portable. And, low budget!*

The "ACTIVE" file


2. Past Years' Files: These needed some help. At the end of each year, I sorta just grabbed everything out of my current files and shoved them into a big tub. Sorta in order. Sorta.

3. School Papers/Kids' Drawings, etc.: These were everywhere. My kids like to draw. A lot. We were just stacking them on their desk. I made somewhat of a basket for them, but it wasn't working.

4. Owner's Manuals: At one point, I put these all in a file folder in the regular file box, but they are so bulky for this. They ended up in a pile on a basement shelf. Not good!

**After these areas were considered, I also looked at my budget. I really didn't feel like spending much, if any, money. I worked really hard on shopping my house and getting by!**

R: Remove Items

I gathered all of the papers/files and dumped them onto a table. Wow! What a mess!

O: Organize into Piles

I pulled out all of my 2008 papers from my files, and categorized the papers left into

*current files

*Past Files

*School Papers

*Owner's Manuals

C: Containerize

This is the fun part!! While I would have LOVED to buy new, glorious containers, I stuck with my plan (:

1. ACTIVE FILES: I went to my basement and found this..

I had a nice, big hanging file tub with all of my grad school papers/teaching files. I thought this would work perfectly for my combined active files. Since I'm staying home with my kids while they're small, I don't really need easy access to these until I go back to work someday.
So, I put these files and papers into a couple of cardboard boxes and put them on a high shelf in the basement until I need them someday.

This allowed me to combine my files and get all new labels for them! They're categorized by subject, and then alphabetically within (except for the first section, which I use for convenience)

I stuck some cute scrapbook paper in the front. Just because it's cute!! The categories:

RED: "Active" =hey! I just can't let it go!

ORANGE: Possessions

GREEN: Financial

BLUE: Each family member has a folder

PURPLE: Interests/Hobbies

2. PAST YEARS' FILES: I pulled my old tub up and went through these. I threw SO many papers away. I had every bill paid for the past 7 years!! Although I probably did keep more than I need to, I look at it like this: We have a basement, and I am not lacking for storage space. What's it gonna' hurt saving a few more papers? Better safe than sorry. Now. If I had a storage issue, then I'd be more selective. Anyway, moving on! (:

I used hanging folders and numbered them "YEAR #1" through 7. Behind each year, I place the papers saved from that year. At the end of each year, I take papers to save, stick them in the front of this, toss the Year #7 papers, and move the little year labels up a year. So easy!!!

Then, this lives in my basement until next year!

3. SCHOOL PAPERS: For school papers, I used my old current file box and let the boys choose scrapbook paper for the front of it. I made a file for each boy with "their color". We use these for a lot of things. All their papers get dumped in here. (Except for ONE which they get to display on the fridge. They can switch this out as much as they want). On Saturday, they'll go through this and keep what they want to and toss the rest. I think we're going to get Memorabilia Boxes for each year of school. That's still in the works (;

Within each folder, they have a "Homework Folder". Their homework to complete goes here, and it's portable, so they can move it to the table or wherever. Hutch is in Preschool and still doesn't have much homework, but I figure it's never too early to get him in the habit!

4. OWNER'S MANUALS: I used my old "Inactive" file box for these. First, I went through and questioned which ones I need to actually keep. Do we really need the owner's manual for our Gazillion Bubble Blower? I dont' think so!

Next, I ripped out all of the foreign language sections. This reduced the bulk by about half!! Since I don't refer to these on a regular basis, I didn't think it was worth it to put them in file folders or categorize them. I just stuck them in the box in alphabetical order. Done.

E: Evaluate Plan

S: Solve/Simplify Anything that Isn't Working for You

* I'll do these after I've lived with them for awhile!*

S: Smile, relax and enjoy your hard work!!!

Sounds good!


MacyLane said...

First of all, it was absolutely brilliant of you to rip out the foreign language sections in your manuals!! What a great idea!!

Also, I love the system you set up for the 7 years worth of past filing. I've only been dealing with paperwork and filing taxes for about 4 years---so everything still fits in one portable box--but now I know what I'll be doing when its time to move them to storage.

It looks great, you did an awesome job!

The Masked Mommy said...

I love the idea about tearing out the foreign languages in your manuals. I wish I could just get rid of ours, but my hubby won't let me! Looks like you did a ton of work. Great job!

Org Junkie said...

Do you have any idea how excited this post got me!? Wow what an awesome job and of course I'm tickled that you followed the process steps. Yay!!

Well done! It looks like you've got a great and manageable system there.

Thanks for joining in!!


Dawn said...

Hey there! I came by for coffee and got to looking around on your blog - love the organizational tips! I desperately need to do something with all the paper in our house. I showed my Hubby what you did and he was impressed too. I hope the system works for you.

Oh and I too loved the idea of taking out the foreign language sections of the manuals - brilliant!!