Once upon a time there was a newly married couple who had a pile of warranties and manuals from all the new gifts they had been blessed by at their wedding. They stuffed the all papers in a file folder labeled “Warranties and Manuals” and tucked them away. As time passed, the household grew and a second folder was added. Many times over the years they had to refer to these files and, after more than two decades of wading through all those papers to find just the one they were needing at the moment, they finally decided to divide them into categories.
They sat in the middle of the living room and began grouping like items together. (Sort) As they went they tossed any papers of items they no longer owned. (Purge) Ideas of file headings began to emerge. (Assign a home) They were:
Garage and Outdoor Items
Small Kitchen Appliances and tools
Small Household Electric Items, (Non-kitchen or Tools)
Non-electric Household Items
House Items for this address. (This last category is for items purchased for the house that will stay with the house i.e. ceiling fans, garbage disposal, etc.)
Now the papers were all in their assigned file folders and returned to the file cabinet. (Containerize) In the front of each file there they wrote a list of all the items in that folder. As new purchases were made, the warranties and manuals were dropped in the appropriate folder and added to the list. (Equalize)
And so the family (and all their papers) lived happily ever after.
The steps in my silly tale are outlined in Julie Morgenstern’s book Organizing from the Inside Out. You have, of course, noted that they spell out S.P.A.C.E. These steps can be utilized in any organizational need. It is why I named my business as I did. They are truly simple steps. The work may be hard, but the process is uncomplicated. A word about the last step; when you think of “Equalize” think “Maintain”. It’s really a better word, but S.P.A.C.M. just isn’t that catchy
I hope this has helped you think through some of your file needs. This is just one area of filing, but it’s a start. Remember, organizing is a process, not an event. We’ll return to files at another time, but at least we can get this one tackled. Tweak as needed for your household. You can do this (and live happily ever after).
Laura ~ your organizing girlfriend