Last night was our third appointment with our organizer. Before she came we were supposed to sort through the boxes of paperwork that had come from our desks, the mail pile, old files and from the numerous boxes of old paperwork that were in the basement. Supposed to. This was a bigger task than either of us had thought. We put lots of hours of work into sorting & shredding, but we did not entirely complete our homework.
But, that did not stop us from getting lots done during her visit. To begin with we cleared the remaining surfaces, and sorted the "left over" items into a few categories, including: items to return to stores/friends and keepsakes. As it turns out, there were lots of little things in our desks & files that could really be categorized as "keepsakes" that we aren't ready to part with and derive some enjoyment from, but that didn't really need to take up our "everyday space". By putting these items in a designated box, we are able to hold on to a manageable amount and keep our everyday space clear of things we do not use on a regular basis.
Once the surface clearing was done, we now had room to set up our new "Mail Center". After much discussion, it was decided that the mail center should be in the new office space, which is nearby the door we regularly enter and just before the stairs. This is to be the "landing zone" for all things paper that come in the house. We re-purposed some furniture that was in the space and stole the bulletin board from the Tumbleweed's room for the main set up. On the bulletin board we have space for important "action items" and envelopes for the little things (like coupons & Box Tops) that often get lost in a pile. We also have paper trays for bills and "To Do". And, most importantly the trash can, paper recycling bin and shredder are all within reach as the mail is sorted.
Our Mail Center
Shared Office Supplies
After we had set up a mail center, we tackled the other big reason our paperwork gets out of hand - the filing system. Our files were so outdated and stuffed that there was no where to put the new stuff, which was causing it to pile up. We started with a clean slate and emptied everything, and only added back in the items we currently need. Additionally, we now have a monthly filing system for past 'action items', paid bills and receipts. This should keep the mail area clear of "old" stuff, and eliminate the piles that usually appear on my desk.
It feels pretty good to have a such clear spaces then I look around! There are still several boxes of items that need to be sorted and/or returned to their homes upstairs. And there is still some reshuffling of the items that belong with my desk/computer but are still upstairs near it's former location. But even though we still have some homework, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel!
9 months ago