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Keeping office drawers less than three-quarters full

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  • Keeping office drawers less than three-quarters full

    The file drawers containing reference material in my office are getting full.

    Two statements in Making it all Work got my attention: 1) Keep drawers less than three-quarters full and 2) Purge files at least yearly.

    Generally speaking, what thought process is useful to purge the "deadwood" from the important?

  • #2
    I sort of "cheat" here insofar as I don't really purge anything as much as move it from active storage into inactive storage. So keep that in mind.

    My thought process is: Did I use this at all last year? Do I expect to use it at all next year? If the answers are no, away you go.

    It's not really all that complicated.



    Cheers,
    Roger

    Comment


    • #3
      Keeping office drawers less than three-quarters full

      Roger,

      Does the need to purge ever catch up with the inactive reference material?

      In my situation, the office storage is at a premium and I'm thinking maybe better to shred/trash it than put it off.

      Thank's for the helpful framework for considering what stays (active) and what goes (inactive or removed forever). I am now unstuck.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by curtis View Post
        Does the need to purge ever catch up with the inactive reference material? In my situation, the office storage is at a premium and I'm thinking maybe better to shred/trash it than put it off.
        It hasn't caught up with me yet. Someday, maybe.

        It's a good candidate for offsite storage, if that tempts you.



        Cheers,
        Roger

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by curtis View Post
          Generally speaking, what thought process is useful to purge the "deadwood" from the important?
          For me the starting point is "How easily will I be able to find this information again if I need it in 10 years time?" For me I frequently, as in once or twice a week, find myself digging into files that I haven't looked at for years or sometimes even decades. The fact that I can find the information I remember saving and then use it is wonderful.

          What I have done to reduce the volumes of paper is I scan a lot of financial and personal records that it's very unlikely I will ever need (tax stuff for example) but am required to keep. That frees up the physical cabinets for the nuggets of useful stuff squirreled away over the last umpteen years.

          When I purge one question I am asking now is if I can handle having this item as a digital copy rather than a paper one.

          Comment


          • #6
            Keeping office drawers less than three-quarters full

            Thank you


            Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
            For me the starting point is "How easily will I be able to find this information again if I need it in 10 years time?" For me I frequently, as in once or twice a week, find myself digging into files that I haven't looked at for years or sometimes even decades. The fact that I can find the information I remember saving and then use it is wonderful.

            What I have done to reduce the volumes of paper is I scan a lot of financial and personal records that it's very unlikely I will ever need (tax stuff for example) but am required to keep. That frees up the physical cabinets for the nuggets of useful stuff squirreled away over the last umpteen years.

            When I purge one question I am asking now is if I can handle having this item as a digital copy rather than a paper one.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
              For me the starting point is "How easily will I be able to find this information again if I need it in 10 years time?"
              Yes!

              I like the book "A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder", http://books.google.ca/books?id=MlV2...Bg&redir_esc=y This book makes a number of good points, including that the idea of throwing something away just because you haven't used it for a year isn't always appropriate. For example, an electric generator that's sitting in the basement unused for several years, but that may come in very handy if there's a power outage a few months from now. Other aspects to consider besides how often you've used it are: How much space does it take to store it? How valuable is it? How likely are you to use it in the future? And especially, how easy would it be to replace it?

              I've gotten rid of a lot of information on paper figuring that now that sort of thing can easily be found on the Internet. Things with sentimental value can be irreplaceable, though.

              Comment


              • #8
                Exactly

                Originally posted by cwoodgold View Post
                Other aspects to consider besides how often you've used it are: How much space does it take to store it? How valuable is it? How likely are you to use it in the future? And especially, how easy would it be to replace it?
                IMO Frequency of use is the WORST criteria to decide if you need to keep something. Those other factors are far more important.

                For example, just this past week I pulled out some engineering plans for irrigation systems that were done for this property back in 1978-1981. For a bunch of reasons they never got implemented but this year with our drought we are looking at doing a version of those. Having the old plans and more importantly the thinking behind them is extremely useful as we do the engineering for what we will actually put in.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
                  IMO Frequency of use is the WORST criteria to decide if you need to keep something.
                  But it's a great criterion for deciding where to keep something, in my experience.



                  Cheers,
                  Roger

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    (Oogiem had said "IMO Frequency of use is the WORST criteria to decide if you need to keep something.")

                    Originally posted by Roger View Post
                    But it's a great criterion for deciding where to keep something, in my experience.
                    Yes, right on.

                    Wow, I got quoted by Oogie!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      In my last job I got fed up with my 4 drawers of "reference" material (accumulated over 20 years) and purged it over about 6 months. By the time I'd thrown away all the stuff that was no longer relevant, had been replaced by later documents, was saved on my computer or the intranet, and things I was clearly never going to use, I reduced it to about 2 drawers full. Half of that I switched to ring binders which sit on my shelf and are much easier to find stuff I need, leaving me with only one drawers worth of filing.

                      In my current job I am delibrately keeping it to one shelf of ring binders and one filing cabinet drawer. But it depends on just how much you NEED to keep for reference.

                      Ruth

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Good Catch!

                        Originally posted by Roger View Post
                        But it's a great criterion for deciding where to keep something, in my experience.
                        Very good understanding of how where can be used to specify the location for storing things. That is very true and so helpful in determining how to integrate paper and electronic storage.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          rethinking during process/organize

                          My filing cabinets are getting too full so I've been pulling files here and there to scan into Evernote. It's going to be a looooooong process. So, to relieve myself of this task next time around, I am starting to scan things during the process/organize phase. For example, this just happened today:

                          I received a flyer from the Auto Club about their Teen Driver Program. I called them and wrote down all of the info but it doesn't seem like the timing is going to work (3 hours a night, 2 school nights a week for 5 weeks). In the past I would have started a file as reference just in case I need to revisit it. Instead I scanned the flyer and my notes into Evernote and threw away both sheets of paper. Score!

                          By utilizing the cloud I'm hoping to reduce my reference files by at least a third.

                          Dena

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by artsinaction View Post
                            I received a flyer from the Auto Club about their Teen Driver Program. I called them and wrote down all of the info but it doesn't seem like the timing is going to work (3 hours a night, 2 school nights a week for 5 weeks). In the past I would have started a file as reference just in case I need to revisit it.
                            Interesting. I would have put the flyer into my tickler file when I thought I might take a look or need it. Usually for stuff like that there is a time limit on the usefulness of the info so tickler seems more appropriate to me. Are you implementing your tickler in Evernote?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              she'll have to wait a little longer to drive

                              Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
                              Interesting. I would have put the flyer into my tickler file when I thought I might take a look or need it. Usually for stuff like that there is a time limit on the usefulness of the info so tickler seems more appropriate to me. Are you implementing your tickler in Evernote?
                              Thanks for asking, Oogie! I use a traditional manila folder system for my tickler (which I love by the way).

                              For this particular item, though, I realized that their program wouldn't work for Isabella. She's taking four AP (Advanced Placement) classes next year and weeknights will be pretty sacred.

                              I scanned it into Evernote so that when I find a class that meets on Saturdays I can go back and compare their classroom/in-car hours and price to the Auto Club's program.

                              So, I don't need to be reminded it's there, I only need to be able to find it when the time comes.

                              Dena

                              Comment

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