A Lean, Clean File Cabinet

Organizing Files

A lean, clean file cabinet. . . Yes!

You know the saying about a painter’s house not getting painted, a cabinetmaker’s kitchen not getting finished?  Well I am a professional organizer and it’s been 2 years since I purged my files.

My motivation: I finally got tired of looking at those 2 metal filing cabinets in the dining room. I needed to change our files over from the metal filing cabinets to a new wooden one in the office. We had file drawers for my husband’s business, my business, our household, and topics of interest like crafting and genealogy.

I’d like to give you some organizing tips for getting this project started and staying motivated.

Here are some tips for you:

1.  Schedule a day.

2.  Purging is necessary. That means discarding what you haven’t used or looked at within a year.  The exception to this includes:  legal and financial documents, family history info, photos, and other memorabilia.

3.  Pace yourself: It takes me approximately 1 hour to purge files from  one legal-size drawer. A reasonable goal would be one drawer per day.

4.  Have a large flat surface to sort things as you take them out of the file (the floor will do, but a large table is better for your back!)

5.  Assemble your tools. Make sure to have recycling, trash and a shredder right there.  It  is more efficient because it saves you steps and time.

6.  Motivation. If music helps you, turn it up. Or anything that helps you stay focused like a picture or snacks.

7.  Plan time for cleanup.  Do it right away.

Now, I took the whole day to purge and reorganize 4 very full legal-size filing drawers.  I discarded an entire 30 gallon trashcan full of papers, essentially the contents of 1 file drawer.

I’m not sure I would recommend purging files for 5 hours in one day.  It depends on your work style. But if you are really motivated or the thought of having an unfinished job really bothers you, go for it! I find it hard to leave a job unfinished, so I reorganized all my files in a day.  What a big project! I am relieved to be done!

I believe if you follow my tips, your file purging project will be easier and smoother.

If you get stuck, give me a call or email me. I’ll help you put your files in their place!