List-making to release old medical records

You may wish you had the carte blanc services of a family member who is a professional organizer, but my poor mom can’t enjoy a glass of wine with me without me starting to dig around and organize something. “Kacy, get your hands outta there!” is commonly heard at my parents’ home (and has been since I was a kid!).

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Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

Buried in medical claims paperwork? Hire a medical claims professional.

In cleaning out my own Evernote this week I found a gem of an article that can no longer be found online (another reason why saving articles to Evernote is superior to bookmarks!). 

This one happens to be a tear-out that I photographed while working with a client to thin her newspaper clippings.

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Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

Are you keeping tax records for too long? (Probably)

Everybody wants to know “how long should I keep records?”  Each time I’m asked I refer clients to the IRS’s answer to this question to draw their own conclusions.  

Most are surprised to learn that they are keeping tax documents for about 4 years longer than necessary.  

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Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

My thoughts on one-size-fits-all filing systems

A while back someone wrote in with a question on the Paper Tiger filing system. My email to her summarized countless conversations with clients I’ve had on the same topic. Though I have one client now who successfully uses one, I rarely see them in-use. In fact, I can’t go a month without finding one of these systems empty or abandoned in a new client’s drawers.

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119 Circle

Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

The joy of vintage office supplies

In a magnificently stuffed antique shop in Royal Oak, Maryland (Eastern Shore) last week I was reminded of how much I love vintage office supplies.  They combine my love of all things patina, quality, age, and good design with office organizing. I gasped when amongst the thousands of odd and beautiful objects, a vintage brass letter sorter jumped into my arms.

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119 Circle

Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

This is what file maintenance looks like

Often when speaking to a prospective client for the first time, they say, “My biggest problem is maintenance.”  There is no maintenance checklist that applies to everyone, but one way my clients learn to maintain their files is to update their dated folders shortly after the new year.

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119 Circle

Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

How I used Evernote this week to cut my files in half

Most of what we keep in files are “peace of mind” documents, not actually anything we will need to access.  One of the many benefits to Evernote is that it can help you digitize hard copy files (via camera phone or scanner), allowing you to toss the original.  This is exactly what I did this weekend when trying to cut my files in half.  I succeeded.  Full disclosure - I went from about 2’ of files down to 14” of files.  Now, instead of a file cart, I just have two small flle boxes that sit on my closet floor!  Here is exactly what I Evernoted (after trashing quite a bit):

  • A very thick folder of contact info from talk attendees.  I didn’t capture each contact slip, but rather checked my bundles (clipped and labeled by talk venue and date) against my public speaking resume that lives in Evernote.  Once that note was updated, the 3’ folder was shredded.
  • My last credit report.
  • My folder of leases from tenants from when I rented a room in my condo.
  • A stack of notes from an old consulting gig.
  • Copy of an old security clearance.
  • Created a master note of bank account numbers (some mystery ones I need to ask about), allowing me to shred a small pile of old deposit slips and checks.

Now each of these lives in Evernote, meaning I can access this info from anywhere, confident that I can find it when I need it (though highly unlikely).  In essence, I Evernoted many of the “I don’t need this anymore, but am nervous to toss it" items.  I didn’t use a scanner (and never do), just my camera phone!  I’m always chipping away at my files, but feel like this was the final push.

What hard copy files of yours are many years old that you feel you should keep, though you know you’ll never need to access them?  Please share in the comments the documents and folders that Evernote can zap!

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Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.

How do I know if I'm ready to go paperless?

This is a question I answer more than any these days. I give the same answer every time, no matter who is asking, so it made sense to post to my site. Watch the video below & see if you're ready to go paperless. Click here to watch other FAQs about working with me.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel here to catch minimalism tutorials each week.

I love how she hid her files

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My client from about a year ago recently moved. She just sent me this picture of where she put her files in her new house! I just love it. It's always fun to see the ideas that emerge as a result of saying "no" to the traditional filing cabinet. We've all seen office closets before, but this is different because it's not in the office and it's not strictly for supplies. This is where she keeps her working files. A few tips from Carol: - I left enough space between the shelves so that you can easily see the file folder labels from a standing position. It wouldn't work if you had to crouch or use chair for the files you use often. - The top shelves with the boys report cards do need a stool for access, but I figured that once or twice a year that would be ok. I saw a little folding stool at the Container Store that I might get. - The only other thing I may add is some closet lights under each shelf. - Supplies are in wine create

Container Store supplies used: Acrylic Desktop FileBigso Translucent Desktop FileBlossom Hanging Folders

An Extreme Magazine File Makeover

Reader Cheryl Togashi in Washington state so kindly shared with me a paper system she created. I sometimes use magazine files to sort paper, but haven't quite done it like this.

gold boxes

Here are a few things she did differently that I just love:

  1. She spray painted it gold!  (Reminds me of this cool file box that was also painted gold)
  2. She turned it on it's side.
  3. She utilizes clear plastic folders in tandem with plastic tabs.

It works because it is visual, pretty, and she has clearly thought through which exact categories need to be in pain sight.  Also, note that 3 tab folders will not work in this system, as the right folder tab would be hidden in the box.

Here are the supplies she used to do this:

IKEA Knuff Plywood Magazine File

Post-It File Tabs

Translucent Pocket Files

kacyRoundOffice Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper. She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking. Reach her at 202.262.1207 and kacy@theinspiredoffice.com. Learn about Skype consultations here. Watch video lessons on office organizing here. Receive your free list of 100 Ways to Organize Your Office at www.theinspiredoffice.com

Anything Can Be Labeled Beautifully.

My client recently replaced her old file boxes with these beautiful white brocade ones to store supplies but was stumped as to how to label them.

She came up with this clever idea to tie these simple paper tags through the holes.

File boxes

Just Google image "paper string tags" to source exactly what you need.  Personally, I like the Kraft ones.

These exact file boxes aren't sold anymore, but these are very similar.

 

kacyRoundOffice Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper. She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking. Reach her at 202.262.1207 and kacy@theinspiredoffice.com. Learn about Skype consultations here. Watch video lessons on office organizing here. Receive your free list of 100 Ways to Organize Your Office at www.theinspiredoffice.com

Face It, These Don't Work

Just yesterday a client told me she just donated a few of these letter sorters. I couldn't be happier.

letter sorter

Not to be confused with a step rack, these are just homes for expired coupons, useless receipts, and other faded bits of paper detritus.

I'm not just mad at it because it's ugly: I've seen chic versions that fail just as miserably.

Got one?  Triumphantly let it go.

Got a rare story of letter sorter success? Share it here!

119 CircleOffice Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper. She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking. Reach her at 202.262.1207 and kacy@theinspiredoffice.com. Watch video lessons on office organizing here. Subscribe to the weekly newsletter & receive your free list of 100 Ways to Organize Your Office at www.theinspiredoffice.com/subscribe.

How to Organize a Desktop with File Boxes

Do you know that simple file boxes can create miracles in your office? This is a system I've done time and time again with clients who don't want to use filing cabinets. It's a great alternative and works well as a mobile, accessible filing system.  Read the first comment below for an update from my client who let me film this at her desk!

Purchase boxes here.

Are you an 'out of sight, out of mind' person like my client?

Please comment below and share your categories that would be better accessible in a file box!

 

kacyRoundOffice Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper. She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking. Reach her at 202.262.1207 and kacy@theinspiredoffice.com. Learn about Skype consultations here. Watch video lessons on office organizing here. Receive your free list of 100 Ways to Organize Your Office at www.theinspiredoffice.com

My favorite office organizing product is on sale!

My all-time favorite office organizing product is 30% off at The Container Store now!

Want to know exactly what it is and how to use it? Click play:

Click here to buy. Act fast.  Not sure when the sale ends.

 

kacyRoundOffice Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper. She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking. Reach her at 202.262.1207 and kacy@theinspiredoffice.com. Learn about Skype consultations here. Watch video lessons on office organizing here. Receive your free list of 100 Ways to Organize Your Office at www.theinspiredoffice.com

Video: How to organize a shared desk

It's hard enough organizing a desk, but is doubly as hard when the desk is shared with a business partner or, in this case, a spouse. This video will teach you a solution for the clutter (and blame) that accumulates on a shared desk.

Do you share a desk?

If so with whom?

What issues do you run into and what would you change about your partner's organizing style?

Will you do things differently after watching this video? Will you share this video with your colleague/partner/spouse sitting next to you?

Please share in the comments!

kacyRoundOffice Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper. She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking. Reach her at 202.262.1207 and kacy@theinspiredoffice.com. Learn about Skype consultations here. Watch video lessons on office organizing here. Receive your free list of 100 Ways to Organize Your Office at www.theinspiredoffice.com

Video: Organize Your Desktop With Clear Plastic Folders

I LOVE these clear plastic files and always try to keep some with me at all times to use with clients.

I've found that people like to use manilla files but 'out of sight, out of mind' means that important things get forgotten.

So instead I encourage them to use these files.

They can also take a beating that manilla files cannot.

Where do I buy them? I buy them in packs of 6 at Staples.

Simple as that!

Do you use clear plastic folders? Which of your categories will be better accessible in clear folders?  Please share in the comments!

 

New Headshot w_posterOffice Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper. She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking. Reach her at 202.262.1207 and kacy@theinspiredoffice.com. Learn about Skype consultations here. Watch video lessons on office organizing here. Receive your free list of 100 Ways to Organize Your Office at www.theinspiredoffice.com

2 New Additions to the Filing Hall of Shame

Please help me in welcoming two new additions to the Inspired Office Filing Hall of Shame!  You can imagine my excitement when my client and I unearthed these two gems from a filing system that hadn't been purged in at least 5 years.  Consider these to be examples of how not to label a folder!  Why exactly?  They're just glorified piles, telling us nothing specific about the contents. The good news is that anything in these folders self-expires after even just a short amount of time.  We had a good chuckle and tossed their mysterious contents in a matter of minutes.  Don't know where to start purging your own files?  Hunt and peck through your office for any vaguely titled folders and envelopes.  Trust me, you can blindly toss the contents.  If they once were "important" or required "action," their ship has sailed and you're surely onto bigger and better things. Need more examples of unhelpful labels?  Check out the original Filing Hall of Shame here! Do you have folders worthy of the Inspired Office Hall of Shame?  Please share!  Email me pics and you too could be a member of the esteemed club of folks who are swiftly moving towards a filing system worthy of the Inspired Office Hall of FAME!  This is all in good fun.  My clients all know that their folders are lovingly showcased here and have graciously offered to serve as examples!

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