Day Two: Select & Sort
Goal: To focus on a troublesome area and begin to sort your paperwork into categories
1. After assessing all the areas in your home that require some paper organizing love, choose ONE area that gives you a challenge.
Your companions and I are here to support you in this process.
2. Reference the document you created yesterday associated with your challenge area.
Note your list of broad categories for this area.
3. Begin to sort your papers in your chosen area.
There are two ways you can approach this, so choose the one that makes more sense to you.
If you have a lot of paper, it can be helpful to use the following piles:
Get specific and define exactly what that piece of paper is. Is it a bill that needs to be paid? (Action) Is it a bill that has already been paid, that you are saving for tax purposes? (Reference) Is it a piece of your child's artwork? (Archive, or Action, if you want to frame it and hang it up!) Is it a calendar of school events? (Reference) Identify why YOU are keeping it.
Once you have taken this action, sort the categories down further into your relevant broad categories that you identified yesterday.
If all of your paperwork is Reference and Archive, just sort immediately into your broad category list.
4. Designate a paper bag for each of your recycling and shredding categories, and if you have lots of paper, you can use boxes or totes to keep your other categories separate as well.
During this process, more specific categories will often begin to reveal themselves.
If you choose you can jot those down on your list, and continue to sort things into those more specific categories as you go.
5. Take each broad category and sort it down further, if you choose.
How specific you get depends on your personal preference and the area you are dealing with.
For example, you may choose to sort your children’s art into just one category, or instead make a category for each child.
If you are going through a home office, you may choose to make your broad categories: such as bill statements, user manuals, family related documents, business related documents.
And then sort bill statements down further into: utilities, credit card, mortgage, health, etc.
If you see obvious things to discard or shred, put them in those piles, BUT do NOT focus on what to keep and what to get rid of at this point, simply focus on sorting.
Continue the sorting process for the daily time period you have committed to for the purge event.
Do You Need THESE Categories?
There will often be multiple archive categories:
- Memorabilia (yours and/or kids)
- Business Archive (anything you have to keep for your business that you don’t have to readily access)
- Personal Archive (anything that you are keeping for yourself, your home or family that you do not have to readily access)
These three categories are what I call the “inactive” categories---categories that once they are identified and organized mostly remained stored and untouched.
The important thing today is to stay focused in your one designated area.
Do not allow yourself to wander into another area to “put something away in that other paper spot” or you may be sucked into that area.
If you uncover papers that belong in another room, then make that its own sorting category (“Paper that belongs in other rooms”).
And…I'm onto you...don’t just put anything you don’t want to deal with now, in that pile...
Copyright © 2015. Susan Shehata. All Rights Reserved.