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.

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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

How I created a 23 year old's first filing system

23 year oldRecently I worked with one of my younger clients: a client's young adult son who needed help getting organized for a job search.  I've been helping him organize since he was in high school.  We organized for college, study abroad, and moving out of home, so it was fun to see watch him transform into a motivated professional!

We managed to toss everything paper except for those that fit into these folders.Here's a peek, at the system, which is a mini version of systems I've created hundreds of times for folks in every stage of life.  We created a number of files that fall under just four larger groupings. For those of you who are becoming more and more paperless, these four categories may be all you need.

 

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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. 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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Never Have This Folder In Your Filing System

 

 

 

 

 

 

A friend of mine recently asked me over dinner, “If you could ban any one thing from offices, what would it be?”  Without hesitation I answered, “Miscellaneous folders.” You think you’re doing yourself a favor by slapping a quick “Misc.” label on a folder just so you can clear your desk, but these are the black holes of filing systems.  Once something goes in, it never sees the light of day again.

The dreaded “Miscellaneous” folder wears many masks.

- “Various”

- “General”

- [your name here] For instance, a “Kacy” folder.  Heaven only knows what’s hiding in there. . .

- [a year] Hmmm, “2006” That says a lot. . . .

- “Current” Current what?  Current when?

I’m apparently not the only Office Organizer who has a bone to pick with this pseudo category.  A recent New York Times article featured a Massachusetts based Organizer who agrees.  Nancy Black says “If you really want it, you can have it,” she tells clients, ‘but don’t tell anyone I helped you with it.”  Ditto.

 

7 DAY CHALLENGE:

Do an audit of your files and piles this week to see if you too have been harboring any black holes.  I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you realize that at least 90% of its contents are trash. By now, nothing remaining is worth acting on.  “Trash or file” should be your motto as you power sort through this one.

Where To Stash Your Coupons (Until They Expire, Because You Know They Will)

When is the last time you used a paper coupon?  Really, come up with an answer.  If it’s not within the past year, then don’t kid yourself the next time you see one has landed on your desk. It’s not worth anyone’s time nitpicking over (what I see as a) dear collection of Bed Bath & Beyond coupons when there is heavier paper lifting to be done.  If I notice I’m quickly losing the argument on whether or not to toss the tattered drugstore coupon that expires the next day, then we make a Coupons folder.  This, like any other active file, does NOT go in a file drawer.  It shouldn’t even live in the office. If it must though, use one of my favorite translucent folders.  If they expire, then at least they expire all in one spot.

*Advanced Step: When coupons come in, they should actually immediately go back out the door.  I am a loyal diner at El Golfo here in Silver Spring.  They have the best coupons and I do use them.  They come in the mail, but immediately make their way to my glove compartment.  Where are you when you wish you had that coupon on you?  NOT at home!  Because when a craving for a half price enchilada attacks as I’m cruising down Flower Avenue, I sure am glad that coupon’s not on my desk.

7 DAY CHALLENGE:

If you use coupons, gather yours and either make a Coupons file or bring them to your glove compartment.  If you do not use coupons, then this is not for you.  Trash immediately upon arrival.

Must-Have Folder For Organizing the Portable Office

Many of my organizing clients work between two offices: home and work office.  Nearly all of my clients have a bag or briefcase that serves as a “mini office” that travels between home and wherever else life happens.  If you fall under either of these categories you’ll benefit from a folder I created just yesterday: “Home <-> Office.”   This folder will permanently live in the briefcase and will be the only place where documents in transition live - no more used and abused papers at the bottom of your bag!  Note: it is not meant to store documents.  In theory, nothing should live in here for more than two days max.  I chose a translucent plastic folder because not only can you see if something is inside, but it takes a beating on the go in a way a manila folder never could.

If you have a bag that travels between two work places, then you know how used and abused well-traveled papers can get.  Treat yourself to a clearly labeled plastic folder that never leaves your bag, serving as a heavy-duty go-between.