At one point or another we all need to collect and keep important files for our homes and lives. Insurance documents; passports; medical files; birth certificates; deeds; etc. Some we need to keep in a safe place forever and others may go out of date (like employment contracts from 3 jobs ago or even instruction manuals for appliances that you don’t own anymore). It’s easy to pop them all in a filing cabinet or document file and leave, but every once in a while it’s a good idea to sort and remove what’s no longer needed. Here’s how to.
Prepare a sorting table.
Start by preparing a space where you can empty out your files and sort them into piles. You could even use some post-it notes to allocate piles. You could do them by person’s name or by whether they need to be kept. You could have a pile for shredding before recycling as well as an archive pile for the files that could go into deep storage.
Having a space that’s free for this job to begin with will make it easier to get the job started and finished, as sometimes standing at a filing cabinet makes it so easy to pull the “too hard” card and close the drawer and walk away. Make a plan to start and finish, even if it’s just one drawer at a time.
Start with one drawer or section.
You don’t have to pull the entire filing cabinet apart at once and put in on the sorting table so it looks super intimidating. Start with one drawer or section of your document file and start sorting each bit. Once you’re done with that drawer, either put what you’re keeping back. Or place it to one side in a completed pile so you can re-organise where everything goes once you’ve done all the drawers or sections.
Have snacks, a dusting cloth (if needed) and even some good music to keep you company while you tackle this task. If you have a shredder, make sure it’s empty before you start so you don’t have to break your flow to empty it only a few minutes in. If you need extra motivation consider having a treat planned for after you complete the job, or even a running total that you can mark off as you progress, so you can see your progress as you go.
Return and dispose.
Once you’ve been through all the drawers or sections of the document file, return anything you know that you need to keep back to the cabinet or document file and organise it so that it’s easy to find when you need in future. Create some labels if needed.
Then dispose of anything that you don’t need to keep. Shred what needed to be shredded and get it out into the rubbish bin (trash) where it will be collected. Or take it to a service where they securely destroy old documents if you have one in your area, if required.
Celebrate your hard work.
This can be a big and daunting task, but one that will feel great to get done. Hopefully your filing cabinet or document file doesn’t feel full to overflowing anymore and you can find what you need quickly and easily. Celebrate with a cup of tea and some cake or maybe even some time reading on the couch if that’s more your style! High fives for getting it done!
Do you keep your important files cabinet up to date? Or do you set and forget too?
P.S. I’m excited to share that Style for a Happy Home has been selected as a finalist in the Home & Wellbeing category of Kidspot #voicesof2015! Thank you Kidspot for the opportunity and to anyone who may have nominated me and also to you lovely people who read my blog. Thanks for being a part of SFAHH x