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Archive for files

5 Spring cleaning and organizing tips for your home office

Spring cleaning your home office can lead you in many directions.  Perhaps:

  • your inbox is inundated,
  • your files are filled or
  • your time management is missing.

You need to start somewhere so let’s start with the S.P.A.C.E. that houses your office.

Look around your office and start:

1. Sorting the items that are visible into groups of papers, books, office supplies, client files, product, advertising materials etc.

Start with the visible clutter first.

2. Pair down each pile to the items that are current and recycle or shred the rest.

3. Assign a convenient place to store your resources.  If you use them often keep them near your desk, if they are used infrequently store them further way but still in your office.  If they are never referred to but needed for tax or legal purposes they can be stored in another room.

4. Take each of those piles and select the best Container for keeping the items organized, binders, magazine holder, bins, boxes etc.

 

Organize with binders

Organize with bins

Organizing for the person who likes to see everything, the visual person

 

 

5. Evaluate your new S.P.A.C.E.to make sure it will help you be more efficient, productive and profitable this year.

 

 

Share one of your office organizing tips in the comment box.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Need a New Style Binder for Organizing?

Samsill  2-in-1 and 3-in-1 Organizers

Samsill  has a 2-in-1 organizer and a 3-in 1-organizer.   They are binders with a section of 7 clear plastic accordion style dividers and a fold-over cover with an elastic closure to hold the organizer closed.  They come in a variety of colours.

1 Inch 3 Ring Binder + 7 Pocket Accordion Style Expanding File + Hanging File -

1 Inch 3 Ring Binder + 7 Pocket Accordion Style Expanding File + Hanging File –

There are very few differences between the 2 products.  The 3 in 1 organizer has 4 slide out clips that allows you to hang the binder in your filing cabinet.  The clips lock into position making it easy to use them. This function makes storing the files neat, tidy and easy to retrieve.  No more shelves of binders that slide and tip over every time you remove one.

The binder has clips to hang in a filing drawer.

The binder has clips to hang in a filing drawer.

 

The 2-in-1 organizer has tabs on the top of each file section making it easy for labelling. It also has 2 elastic closures so you can open just the file section or just the binder section.  This is helpful as it prevents any loose papers from falling out when you open the binder section.

In addition to the clips to hang it in a filing cabinet, the 3-in-1 organizer has tabs only on 3 file sections for easy labelling and one elastic closure.

The fold over lid is quite stiff and initially caused me some problem but if you fold it open and re-crease the fold the lid will stay back and make it easy to access the plastic file section.  The files hold paper that is exactly 8 ½  by 11 inches.  If you have manuals or slightly large paperwork you may need to trim it.

Fold over lid keeps document secure.

Fold over lid keeps document secure.

At first you may be fooled and think the elastic closure won`t stay closed because the elastic is loose. The elastic closure works well when the organizer contains paperwork making the elastic tighter.

The elastic closure hooks securely onto the front of the binder

The elastic closure hooks securely onto the front of the binder

The file sections are open at the bottom edge, it is not a pocket.  Some small items may slide under the edge and into the next section.  If this is a problem for you try using an envelope to hold small items in the file section. The dividers are flexible and bend slightly making it is hard to get paper to slide easily into the correct section.  As you get used to it and you have more paper in the sections it becomes quite easy to use.

This may be the perfect product if you have large client files.  You can record your ongoing notes, to do lists, reference information in the binder section and use the file section for billing, receipts, marketing material, information to give to the client, calculator, and ipad.etc.  It would also be a great networking tool.  You can have a place for notes, following up with clients after a meeting, recording upcoming events and to do lists and file all your marketing material. It would always be ready to go when a networking event arises.   Having the binder and file system in one organizer gives you the flexibly of storing paperwork in the way that suits your preferred style and the paper best. You can pick it up and go and look like you are ready to work.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca  www.mindoverclutter.ca

Filing Options

1. Traditional filing Cabinet

Filing cabinets come in many sizes and colours to suit your style

2. Binders – use binders and dividers to file papers for example, household bills, bank statements, warranties etc

This is a sample, change the titles to suit your system.

3 Rolling Crates/ File boxes on Wheels. – use hanging folders and file folders the advantage to this is you can take them to whatever room you want and the top is open so you can see the files easily.

Crates make your files portable

Crates on wheels make it easy to store away and then move close to your desk

4. Expandable files – use one for each category household bills and income tax, financial and insurance, warranties, 4 more one for each member of the family to store papers relating to them, report cards, immunization, passport and other documents, certificates etc

5. Magazine holders have a holder for each category of paper you need to file.

Magazine folders come in many colours.

6 Tips to Reduce Paper

1. Don`t allow paper to build up

  • Handle paper daily, don`t let it grow into a pile

2. Make a decision on each paper the first time you touch it

  • If it can be done in 60 seconds or less to it now, otherwise R.A.F.T it

    Sort your paper into R- read, A- action, F- file, T- toss or shred

  • Set up 3 files, bins or trays and sort your paper into:
  • R – read later
  • A – action required
  • F – file
  • T – toss it / shred it now

3. Follow through on work

  • Each time you pick a sheet of paper put a small dot on the top corner.
  • Three dots or more means it is time to take action on that piece of paper.

4.  Be ruthless

  • 80% of what is filed is never accessed again so 80% or more of the paper you receive on a daily basis can be discarded
  • Purge your files once or twice a year
  • Remove yourself from subscription lists

5. Think before you print

  • File e-mails  in a folder on the computer
  • Print only the selection of the e-mail or webpage you need
Store inactive files in boxes indicating a destroy date

6. Follow retention guidelines

  • Retain files as specified by your company or accountant
  • Put inactive files in boxes and place them in storage indicating a destroy date on the box
  • Purge outdated files

Great ideas from “Don’t Agonize Organize Your Office” by Diane A Hatcher

Office Document Organizing Tips

3Paper, e-mail and electronic files can overwhelm people making them feel stressed and ineffective.  If information has built up look at the creation date on the document and decide if it has the most recent information.  If the document was replaced by a current version toss or delete old versions of the document.  If the document can be replicated, retrieved or is obsolete then toss it /delete it.

Document System

R – Read
A – Act
F – File
T- Toss

As documents come in, paper or electronic decide:

R – if it will be read  or referred  to another person, place it in a folder (electronic or paper) labelled as read.  Forward referral documents  the correct person.

A – If the document requires an action to be taken, decision to be made, a response conveyed, or has a deadline place it in a folder marked Act.  Financial documents should have their own folder separate from the Act folder.

F –If  the documents  are completed, but must be retained ,then they are  filed.  If it is an electronic document forward it to the correct folder.  If it is a paper document place it in a file or basket for filing at a later date.

T – Documents  that you no longer need, have no financial implications, are out of date, junk mail or a copy can be obtained elsewhere can be deleted, recycled or shredded.

All of your electronic files and paperwork are now filed to be handled at a later time.  Schedule time in your agenda/calendar to read documents, complete any action needed on documents and file paperwork.  This system helps you to know where documents are if someone has questions, allows you to manage your time effectively by scheduling your paperwork at times when you will be uninterrupted and be able to quickly  locate the papers/documents you need to complete a task.

Desk top filing system

Desktopper for R A F T folders

Stacking plastic paper filing trays

Use stackable trays for
R A F T documents

Although much of our information is paperless there is still a substantial amount of paper to control.  Have 5 stacking trays or a desktopper with 5 folders.  Label the folders/trays: to do, to read, to file,  refer to other people, miscellaneous forms.  File the paper correctly and schedule time to process each folder.

At the end of the day:

  • Clean off your desk, leaving only papers you are going to process  tomorrow in a stack on your desk.
  • In your calendar record the files you need to process.  Place e-mails/documents that will be working on in a folder marked with the day of the week
  • Check your to do files(paper and electronic)for items that need to be completed the                                              next day
  • Sort all other paper and documents into their appropriate trays/ folders.
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