Tackling "Stuff" To Get Organized (Finally...Maybe?)
"Stuff" has been weighing us down. Time to act!
Three keys: "Yes" "No" "Now" for sorting....
What goes in the "Yes" category?
Family Keepsakes (photos, awards, the most precious things of the children, etc.), Official Records (diplomas, birth certificates, title for the house and car, etc.), Tax Information and current receipts (last X years only), most Current Resume (try filling out an application for a classified government job...it's more than you need, and not even a good resume!), receipts for refunds, guarantees for expensive stuff that may break. biographical stuff (but be judicious), reference materials you will someday actually refer to (a garden layout, computerize when you can to save space, but remember tapes, and discs, will eventually decay), shot records, passports (some things belong in a safe deposit box such as vital records, treasures, etc.), health records, any x-rays, etc., Usable supplies (a good place to start!, but stored and out of sight,) tools (but centralize them.) Add your own "Yes" items.
What goes in the "No" category?
Meaningless newspapers, magazines, books of no current value, trinkets, rocks, seashells, easily replaced plants and packing materials, old mail (if not a Keepsake), Defunct projects (such as a former business' records---if it involves employees or account numbers it must be shredded), toys the grandkids have outgrown (donate?), clothes you won't realistically fit anymore or consider wearing this year (nature abhors a vacuum so more clothes will almost magically appear soon), old shoes, sports gear for sports you no longer play (donate them), Anything broken that you haven't needed lately or that would be unreasonable to repair, anything you can easily and at no, or little cost, replace. And, if it is not yours, return it, set a deadline for someone to come take it, or contact them for permission to dispose of it. There are literally endless lists you can add here to the "No" category, but it it is a category you will waste time thinking about again, add it here.
What goes in the "Now" category?
Current bills, current addresses, correspondence needing a reply, current magazines you know you will actually at least skim through, seasonal gear, emergency supplies of all types, vital information on friends and family (where it can be accessed in an emergency) passwords, medicines, credit card and banking information (properly secured), etc anything someone could require you to provide, proof of payment information, service records, insurance policies, anything you would take with you in case of fire, etc. You will add to this category of "Now" items as you come across others, but have a filing system or storage system that allows you to quickly (even hastily) locate them.
Here is where the problem of "Stuff" came from in the first place. BEWARE! Rule of thumb: handle it once in the sorting, and only once again in the organizing. The "NOW' category gets done once (i.e. NOW, unless hours of operation mean it must wait until tomorrow.) This can slow you down, but it will be a big relief to be "all caught up." Waiting for a payday? Put that item in the "Current Bills" file with a post-it note as to when it has to be paid, etc. The reason so many items of clutter are still around and "in a pile somewhere" is because so many items were "Borderline" to begin with...or...you are an accomplished procrastinator. Remember: if it is worth doing, it's worth doing as soon as the next spare moment comes around.
(c) 2011 Demas W. Jasper All rights reserved.
Organizing tools for getting rid of "Stuff"
Sizing up the problem....
Do you have an existing routine or system for controlling clutter which might help others? (If so, please comment below.)
Going through the "stuff" with a system to make it to the end.
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