Maple Leaf Viburnum, by Cheryl

Today we’re knuckling down and clearing out some files….Trust me the pain doesn’t last long and then you feel soooo good!

Here is how I quickly (because some tasks should be quick) clear a file drawer

First I choose one file drawer or area (it could be a bin or box, etc.) – JUST ONE. This is key.

Next I assemble my supplies:

  • Music (This is the most important thing on this list – good tunes.)
  • A refreshing beverage. (If it’s alcoholic, I’m not judging!)
  • A paper shredder
  • Recycling bin or bag
  • Trash bin or bag
  • A pen
  • File folder labels to re-label all of those file folders you liberate
  • A snack (This supposed to be quick so you shouldn’t really need one, but why not??)

Now start!

Well, actually, first I like to have a goal for this clearing out session – it helps me when I’m not sure what to do with something. Otherwise, I can get lost in “but what if…” land. My goal today was to clear all of the old papers and files from one file drawer. And by old I mean anything at all that I don’t need anymore. That could be files for companies I no longer work with, health files that no longer have relevance, information I saved but have never looked at again, even old tax returns (if they are past the 7-10 year window). You can find guidelines online for how long to keep certain types of documents (just Google it – here’s one now.)

OK, now we can start!! Go through each file quickly assessing anything that you want to or need to keep. Put the keepers back in the file cabinet. There will be things you don’t need or want to keep, as well – things you no longer need to carry around with you. My test for this is: Do I need it now? Will I need it in the future? Is it important to me? File the papers that don’t pass the test in a “to shred”, “to recycle” or “trash” pile. I shred anything that has my name and address on it (and, of course, any other sensitive information). When you have questions refer back to your goal. Keep going until you’ve gone through the entire drawer, (naturally while taking frequent sips and dancing a bit to “Rockin’ Robin”), Shred the papers in the shred pile (this is my favorite part!) And then STOP and celebrate!! You’re done!

Easy right? Well, it can be, but also you’re bound to come across things that remind you of times – good and bad. And that can be a bit emotional. The insurance company that treated you badly – yep – you get to shred the heck outta them. Today, I finally got rid of the file with all of the information on the many health problems of my dear kitty friend Mulligan, who died a few years ago. Going through that was a trip through time and while it made me sad, mostly I’m happy we had so much time with him. I shredded old diagnoses that no longer belong to me (yahoo!), and insurance files for houses I no longer live in. All quite cathartic. I now have about 20 “new” file folders too! And a lot more space in my file cabinet – and in my life.

If you have a clear out I’d LOVE to hear about it! Contact me with questions too – just drop me a line at cheryl@theintrepidgoddess.com. I also have custom program called The Makeover that offers lots of help for more in-depth clearing and redesigning projects.

I hope your day is full of space for new adventures as we head into March!!

Love to you,

Cheryl