Organization 101: Family Archives, Part 2

Have you been to Target or Wal*Mart lately?  Notice how all of these stores have their own little marketing scheme so blindingly there?  Of course, you have.  It’s time to organize all of your holiday loot and decorate for Valentine’s Day, at least according to the retailers.

The part I find a bit ironic, is there is no tub or bin big enough for all of the loose papers you have floating around your house/kitchen counter/brain.  And there is not a professional organizer in sight coaching you on how to use that bin.  It’s sort of like binging on diet food only to get fat. 

Okay!  Time to get down to the nitty-gritty.  Like I am really one to talk as I sit here amidst this pile of  junk I call my desk, but here goes:

  • Turn on some music that gets you moving.  Turn it up loudly if you don’t have a sleeping child in earshot.
  • Clear the space.  Gotta make a mess to clean a mess.
  • Sit and go through each and every piece of paper you can get your hands on.  Make piles: keep, toss, shred.  You’ll go back to the “keep” pile
  • Now make more piles with the “keeps.”  Add sticky notes to the top of the pile labled with “Kid school” or “Tax Prep” or “New Windows 7 phone info”
  • Make lists of things that pop into your head as you go about this task.  Trust me, stuff will start “popping” right and left…”Oh yes, I do need to think about summer camps,” “Shoot–I do need to get Valentine trinkets for Kate’s class.” 
  • When you come across your child’s school papers, be selective.  It’s not practical to save every last piece of paper on which they create art.  Choose your favorites, take photos of the rest, store ’em in tupperware boxes, or frame them.  Always save report cards. 
  • Go through all of your old files, too.  Yep.  They need a good purging once in awhile.  Paystubs should be kept for just a year.  Always keep performance reviews.  Toss bill payment stubs after the check has cleared, and and shred anything that has your SSN on it.  Here are some other things to keep in mind regarding taxes….(which I won’t even pretend to know)  from Fidelity:


  • Have fun.   Once it’s all done, you’ll feel like the weight of… a file cabinet has been lifted from you! 

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