Home Forums Challenges February Paper Cure

This topic contains 204 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Avatar of Prof. Clutter Prof. Clutter 1 year, 1 month ago.

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  • #160286

    Some of us on the January Home Cure thread still have paper piles/boxes/trays to be sorted and purged, so we’d floated the idea of a February Paper Cure. Whereas last month, we had the daily emailed assignments from Apartment Therapy, this month we’ll have to fashion our own challenge, tweaking to our own needs.
    Who’s on board with this? (If your paper is fine, you might want to work on digital files here;–for me, digital uncluttering will have to be a different project later on.)

    Day #1: Survey and List.
    We’ll start by taking stock of what exactly we plan to work on this month. Taking a leaf from the Home Cure assignment: “Resist the temptation to dive in and start cleaning or moving things around – stay on task to just observe and make note of any problems you see that you would like to improve . . . Stay calm, just observe and make your list. We’ll have plenty of time to focus on the ‘doing’ later.”

    I’ll write back with the linear inches of un(der)sorted “unbound print matter” that I plan to vanquish in February and the space & structures I have for storing necessary archives and active paper.

  • #230758
    Avatar of Jackthetiger
    Jackthetiger
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    You are certainly the Professor of Uncluttering. A very good idea. I will focus on digital clutter, but work on the tasks as suggested.

  • #230760
    Avatar of Astreja
    Astreja
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I’m in! I am *so* in…

    My goals for February:

    - Tidy up tax and banking files for self and family and get everything ready to go for the upcoming tax season;

    - Clean up my story files, both paper and computer, so that I have 1 good copy of everything (and no duplicates, triplicates or quadruplets);

    - Purge out-of-date receipts and warranty information;

    - Create a single list of contacts that everyone in the family can access if needed;

    - Digitize and back up any documents for which the originals are not required;

    - Get a large manila envelope of family photos, and discs with even more photos, the heck off my desk and computer and on their merry way to the relatives who actually want them.

  • #230768
    Avatar of Ella
    Ella
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Thanks for getting this started, Prof. I’m in, but only for 7 hours of decluttering old letters. That’s 15 minutes a day, which is my max for handling emotionally fraught papers. I might not make much of a dent for February… after all, it took 6.25 hours of 15-minuting to go through the ex-BFF’s letters last fall. Here’s what I’m up against…
    9 drawers full, going back 40 years:

  • #230771
    Avatar of Jackthetiger
    Jackthetiger
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Lovely chest of drawers, Ella. What will you keep in them when they are free of 40 years of correspondence?

  • #230772
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    i am in!

    i don’t yet have a clear idea of HOW, but i know WHAT i’d like to do.
    i want to see if i can whittle my personal and company PHYSICAL files down to a single drawer.
    then i’ll sell the three drawer behemoth.

    1. i now have a printer that scans, and i have figured out how it works.
    2. i have loads of old archive-y type papers that i feel i can let go…..old labels and brochures and things i am not using any more. i know it might possibly be future-interesting to hang onto this stuff and consider the evolution of my business, but i am not really into that.
    3. there is definitely some getting-old tax stuff that can be shredded.

    if i start with just those three, then that is a good beginning.
    i’ll commit to thirty minutes per day, five days a week.

    and my first thirty minutes starts tonight.

  • #230775
    Avatar of Katha
    Katha
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    February will be my month for packing up (or getting out of the house) most of my belongings in preparation for the move mid-March. And there definitely is some paper clutter mixed in there that I would like to tackle!
    I doubt that I will have the time and inclination to purge and streamline all my folders completely, but my paper-related goals are:

    #1: to have no loose papers in the moving boxes, but all at least filed correctly by category in my folders,
    #2: if possible, no loose stacks of photos either – they should all at least be in index card boxes, sorted by year/event
    #3: No magazines that I never intend to re-read making their way to the new place

    I will start today by reviewing the pile of sentimental ticket stubs and brochures etc. from 2010 that I have tucked away – I’ll do some “quick-scrapbook” pages that go into my “Memories”-lever arch folder. If I’m lucky, I will be able to finish this in half an hour or so.

    There will still be a box of letters and cards spanning 15 years or so that I definitely will not get to properly, but at least it’s contained in this one (smallish) box.

  • #230779
    Avatar of Joless
    Joless
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Count me in! We have lots of paperwork from our house renovations which I am sure we don’t need all of. Plus I think there is paperwork from renting while we renovated, and also from our previous house. I also need to buy a shredder so I can lose some aged bank statements and so on. We have a vast quantity of vet bills which I doubt we need to keep, plus general admin.

    Sounds like we are drowning but in reality this is all kept in a three drawer cabinet, and I have a series of box files. Would be nice to reduce it though!

  • #230782

    February Paper Cure

    I’m in! Taking inventory sounds like a great first step. I’ll dedicate a week to that (and probably eliminate some stuff as I go.) Then we’ll see . . . . I suspect I will take some work files to work, where they properly belong.

  • #230794
    Avatar of sleepykitten
    sleepykitten
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I am 100% in, Prof Clutter! I agree with Day #1 – Survey/List/Take Inventory. So that’s what I will do today. I want to do the Paper Cure in at least some fashion at both work and home – especially since the papers in the two places are somewhat fluid…I bring work home, often. And sometimes (less often) I bring home to work! I wish I’d brought a camera into work today – I could have taken some “before” photos as part of Day #1.

    As a side note, my boss says this month we will try to schedule a day at work where one of those “portable shredding companies” comes in and we can purge a bunch of old files. I am very excited and hope that happens….

    @Ella – I second @JacktheTiger – those ARE beautiful drawers.

  • #230795
    Avatar of Netleigh
    Netleigh
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I’m in on this, time to tidy up my family history research papers to plan the next phase of research. I’m going to a family history fair in late February so that gives a bit of a deadline.

  • #230797

    February Paper Cure

    I’m on board. After a month offline (a new years resolution to cut down on computer time) I am ready to jump back in. Just this thread for this month.

    I have my wonderful little ScanSnap that I bought late last year and have been using for current mail. I have finally decided my file naming protocol, so now I’m all set to purge, categorize, digitize.

    Surveying what needs to be done:

    1. My special needs daughter and her paperwork are moving to her dad’s house so she can remain in OK where her services are. I need a digital bank of her paperwork before I hand it over.

    2. My son will be going off to university. I need to set up a digital system of his fafsa and student accounts.

    3. I am moving to MN to live with my DF. We would like to set up a digital and paper system that we can both use and navigate. I would prefer not to move more paper than truly necessary (just the firesafe filebox would be preferable.)

    4. I tend to forget the papers that are not household affairs, such as creative work. These need to be tackled… somehow. Creative stuff defies much organization.

    5. My email accounts, dropbox, skydrive, evernote need to be assessed.

  • #230799
    Avatar of sleepykitten
    sleepykitten
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    @lkh – welcome back!

    You just caused me to have an epiphany with your #4 – “Creative stuff defies much organization.” Wow. I’ve never understood why I have such a hard time dealing with papers when my financial records are so impeccably organized/filed. And now I realize at least part of the reason is that so many things don’t have “categories” – they are more like inspiration or works in progress with undetermined formats.

    I can’t use that excuse for ALL my papers, but for some of them, that’s definitely the issue. Now…how to tackle it?

  • #230800
    Avatar of jlw
    jlw
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Yay, I have already gotten started with this! I usually need to do something about papers in January (for the last year’s worth of stuff) and I saw it coming as part of both Cures, so I knew I needed to work on it.

    I have a huge filing cabinet – 4 drawers. It may be more than we need, but we can keep my husband’s school and work papers that he wants to keep in the lower drawers and free up space in the closets from those. I wouldn’t want to drastically cut down on the filing space we have though, for example if we acquire a house, another car, or a baby, all of which are somewhat likely in the next few years, we’d need a bunch more paperwork at that point!

    Although I’ve done okay at clearing out old stuff from the files over the past few years, I realized that I’d created the folders at at time when we still got monthly paper statements for a lot of things. Now that nearly all our bank and credit card statements are digital, I only have a couple of pieces of paper per account, so instead of 5-8 folders that were almost empty, I just have one “Bank Accounts” folder and one “Credit Cards” folder. Just updating the folders so they actually reflect what we need to store saves a lot of space in the drawer.

    Things I still need to do:
    - Round up digital copies of year end account statements
    - Sort through the years of health insurance papers I’ve been avoiding; pull out any important stuff like certificates of coverage; shred the rest
    - See what medical records I can get from my doctor’s office
    - Sign up for my insurance company’s website and reduce that paper accordingly
    - Organize old tax returns and get rid of unneeded extra stuff on the oldest ones
    - Make sure the really important stuff is in our safe deposit box at the bank (I know it’s not…)
    - Round up documents for 2012 taxes into one folder
    - Get DH’s non-financial papers into the cabinet, neatly
    - Organize digital financial files (that’s a whole new mess – probably not until March…)

  • #230801

    February Paper Cure

    @ SK – HI!!!!!!!!!

    I missed everyone here last month. Good to have a month off, but ehhh, there’s nowhere like home and this forum is my online home :)

    Yes, the creative stuff is oppressive for me when I try to organize any aspect of it. I’ve read several articles online about organizing creative ideas and projects. None of them seem to work well with my situation. I had a hard enough time last year organizing my recipe folder because the only thing I was sure about was if a recipe was a dessert or not!!

  • #230802

    February Paper Cure

    sk & lkh: I work on a lot of projects that end up having a lot of scrappy components. After much searching, I have found these hanging file boxes to be useful. They hold quite a bit — about 60 pages. Don’t remember who makes them — think I got them at Staples. Note to self — I could use a few more.

  • #230803
    Avatar of sleepykitten
    sleepykitten
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    @susanintexas – I really those hanging files boxes! What a neat idea! As I start sorting through papers, I will try to think about whether or not those would be a good solution for me, or whether I would still feel stymied about what to put in which box. Maybe a day in mid-February, after we’ve spent some quality time understanding the true nature of our paper piles, should be a “purchase any necessary organizational materials” day.

    I am obviously pumped about this thread, and I couldn’t stay away from it, so here’s my taking inventory list.

    Work:

    Four file drawers of paper (one “active”, two “archive”, one “really freakin old, unorganized archive”). There is a lot in these drawers that could be (carefully) purged, but the file drawers don’t bother me too much, because three out of the four are fairly well-organized.

    Bookshelf that has mostly reports and binders full of paper. Some of these are probably unnecessary – it is a bit hard to know, as sometimes projects “resurface” after years of lying dormant.

    Papers scattered everywhere I look – all over desk, on top of the filing cabinet – basically, there are random papers on every available surface. The tallest stack is probably only two inches, so it isn’t a lifetime accumulation, but the disorganization is distracting and just yesterday I couldn’t find an important piece of paper I needed.

    For me, paper and digital clutter are interrelated – especially at work. An open question is what to save as paper vs. digital vs. both. Also, sometimes the names on my paper files and digital files don’t match because of projects changing names, etc. over time.

    Home:

    Frequently accessed files live in a small file box on my bookshelf. Less frequently accessed files live in a large file box in the basement. I know some of these are important, but I’m not sure how many of them are. Possibly the two file boxes could be combined.

    I have two large boxes of sentimental papers. This is an improvement, believe it or not. Some have been digitized in order to make a memory book, but I am saving the originals until the book is completed.

    And then, I have papers scattered everywhere I look – just like I do at work. There is no “inbox” – I definitely need to purchase a tray and designate a single spot for incoming papers. And some of them represent creative works in progress that I’m not ready to define/label (thanks again for the insight, @lkh).

    My DH has papers as well – several large boxes in the basement and several large stacks (6 inches or so) upstairs. DH’s papers are probably a lost cause, at least for now, but they are worth noting as they do cause me a bit of stress.

  • #230805

    February Paper Cure

    SK: You are so right about not buying any organizational stuff until the project is nearer to completion! Maybe about mid-way through the month we could have a day where we explore paper filing supplies (either in a brick-and-mortar store or online) and start thinking about what we need.

  • #230807

    February Paper Cure

    @ Susan – that is a really neat file system! I’ll keep it in mind as I work through my paper insanity.

    The more I think about the paper and digital stuff I listed above, the more I think I can’t do this in a month. However, in for a penny in for a pound.

  • #230812

    February Paper Cure

    Glad to see so many lively responses (and photos!). Best wishes to all for Feb paper goals! I’ll be out of town until late tonight, but I wanted to get my response in. I currently have no university office for storage. (I have shared office space for work, but I brought all my *stuff* home in December.) I’ve only just cleared my home workdesk for action. The good part about that is everything is gathered in one space.

    Paper Totals: I have four 5-inch fileboxes, two (down from six!) 3-inch magazine holders, two binders, and two accordion files of unsorted paper paper from home and work pertaining to teaching (a few different categories here), research (current, stagnated, and finished), academic conferences/service, and miscellaneous. The piles accumulated each term, so there’s some chronological order, but more like geological layers of sediment than any attempt at filing or categorizing.

    Storage & Goals: I have a two-drawer file cabinet–top drawer is in use with financial and academic records, and some already purged and carefully archived schoolwork, so I doubt that drawer needs more than a quick check. The bottom drawer had been . . . junk for 5+ years, and is now clear. I will have ample space to file and keep what I need. I do have a ~7″ hanging file box for active research. I must be able to find the papers I need when I need them (for this big research project or teaching portfolios or whatever), and I need a clear system to keep these piles from accumulating again when I resume teaching.

  • #230835
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    amazing!
    the first thirty minutes has given me a HUGE TOTE full of shredded paper to recycle into padding orders we ship out.
    and i have cleared an entire filing cabinet drawer.
    one to go, but i know the next one is trickier and will involve scanningscanningscanning.

    today’s paper mission:
    clear desk of filing cabinet debris ie scan, file or shred the handful of papers i couldn’t quite make a decision on last night.
    go through the eleven bankers boxes of tax stuff to see if any of them are actually more than seven years old.
    i think a few years spread into two boxes, hence the build up.
    see if i can relocate the boxes….on the very top shelf of the elfa office is nicely out of the way, but it oppresses the entire office to have that bulk looming overhead.

  • #230837
    Avatar of sleepykitten
    sleepykitten
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    That’s so awesome, @bandicoot! Goodbye, papers….

  • #230838
    Avatar of Nina
    Nina
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Great idea for a seperate cure – Thank you!
    While my papers are nicely organized they just take up way too much space.
    I’ve allready started to go through some of them and put the ones I need to keep (like tax things) but not have easy access to in special filing boxes that I bought last month.
    I want to continue to go through the other folders and throw away/box up what I can so the folders I have on display only hold the things I might need in the near future. I will also have to ask my husband to go through some of his folders as there are things he said he could get rid off.
    While we do have a scanner I haven’t made the switch to completly paperless yet – I guess a part of me still thinks its safer to have important documents printed out.
    One paper area that is difficult for me is things that belonged to my parents who both passed away. Don’t know if I will tackle any of that atm. We shall see.
    The folders that take up the most space are the ones from my studies. I have my final exams this summer so until I at least know what I might need for those I won’t touch them yet. I can’t wait to finish that chapter of my life though and get rid of most of them.

  • #230848
    Avatar of paisley
    paisley
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I am in! I will have to ponder a bit to decide what I can accomplish in a month, but it will be along the lines of coordinating my filing system with DH’s “system”, shredding unnecessary papers (lots), and improving our arrangement for corralling incoming mail.

    @Astreja- that is a lot to accomplish in one short month!

    @lkh- Welcome back! Good to have you back online.

    @Ella- I agree; beautiful file drawers.

  • #230849
    Avatar of KeKeD
    KeKeD
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Perfect! Just the challenge I need to try to get back in uncluttering mode.

  • #230861
    Avatar of Astreja
    Astreja
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Began the cull of my file box.

    Recycle: 4 equipment manuals.

    Shred: 7 old receipts on which the warranty has expired.

    Found: Manual for my fridge (I need to open up a compartment to access the levelling screws, and adjust the tilt backwards so that the fridge doors naturally swing closed if left unattended.)

    Also pulled 2 folders I need for my aunt’s tax return, and put them with the rest of her 2012 stuff.

  • #230862
    Avatar of mdfloyd
    mdfloyd
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I’m in, too! Just saw this post (been busy editing a dissertation and working on an article).

    I have no clue where to begin, though.

  • #230863
    Avatar of Ella
    Ella
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I did my 15 minutes for this first day. I won’t report in every day, maybe only when I’ve knocked off an hour’s worth of letters. A small handful went to the shredder today.

    Those 9 drawers belong to an old pine apothecary chest, circa mid-1880s. It’s actually quite perfect for letters but there are way too many of them, crammed in tight. I’d like to winnow them down to only 6 drawers, then use the other 3 to store my elixirs, potions, eye of newt, toe of frog, and the like.

  • #230868

    February Paper Cure

    Good start to February!

    Tomorrow, I will:
    - set timer for 10 mins and make sure files in drawer are ok (I think that’s the soundest part of my paper storage, but I might be able to purge a few things).
    - set timer for 15 mins and plug away at one of the boxes, nibbling at the elephant.
    - get RECENT/active paper OUT as much as possible. That will be three packets and a few cards or postcards sent, rec’d FYI mailings skimmed and recycled, some loose paper (stray notes and lists to myself) checked against my planner and chucked. I think it can all go out pretty quickly, before it becomes established–it’s all in one pile on my desk chair now, so I’ll get to it promptly.

  • #230872

    February Paper Cure

    I went through my bin of current projects and culled those that were not current (flyers for a class in April — last year? No. That is no longer current.) Monday I’ll start taking inventory.

  • #230878
    Avatar of Xiro
    Xiro
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I have cut down on paper quite a bit and it was never really bad, just items that could be scanned and had no real reason to be a tangible copy.

  • #230880
    Avatar of vjb
    vjb
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    @bandicoot – I’m curious as to why you’re keeping seven years of records. I thought we only had to keep five years? *worriedly starts searching the ATO site*

  • #230881
    Avatar of djk
    djk
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    This month I would like to empty one of the 2 remaining desktop hanging file boxes. This probably will involve re-assessing my finances binder.
    I also need to pull together my 2012 tax-related documents in case I get a letter stating they are wanted. (here, the company which employs you deals with your taxes; if you are self-employed you have to submit a tax return) I want everything together–this is when Mr Justin Case is a welcome fellow.

  • #230884

    February Paper Cure

    I’m in! Glad we have a new Cure, I am sad to finish the January one, it was so useful.

    I need to clear a backlog of papers on my desk at work, develop a better system for filing receipts, print some photos and stick them in an album, along with some others that have been sitting in a box, and buy a new shredder (thus clearing my backlog of shredding). Am on another uncluttering mission this weekend, but will start next week…

  • #230886
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    the filing cabinet/banker boxes solution is staring at me.
    i shall get rid of about a million empty hanging files and put the banker’s boxes INTO the filing cabinet.
    d’oh!

    i found two year’s worth of tax that is over seven year’s old, so that has freed up a little space.
    onward tomorrow!
    the main job tomorrow is to move everything off the floor…filing cabinet, bar fridge (don’t even ask), a gas heater that i should either sell or hook up already, and the usual office stuff…..the tilers are returning on monday at the crack of dawn and i had 36 hour’s notice.

  • #230895
    Avatar of sleepykitten
    sleepykitten
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    For me, Day #2 needs to be devoted to gathering and sorting papers at home. (Since that’s where I am today, the office will have to wait!)

    My plan is to gather all the papers that are either just mine or a mixture of mine and DH’s and sort into broad categories today:

    1) Recycle (obviously – I can’t stress enough that this should be the default)
    2) To File (for the stuff that has a clear spot in my file cabinet
    3) Actions (papers representing tasks that need doing)
    4) Belongs at work
    5) Creative projects (not quite sure yet how to deal, but separating these from other categories should help me understand what I need)
    6) Sentimental
    7) Belongs to DH

    I know that sounds like a lot of categories, and sorting without totally dealing with the papers breaks the “touch something only once” rule, but I believe this will be helpful to me with the initial backlog at home. The next step, time permitting, is to go through them and deal with them in their own ways – file the “to file”, etc.

  • #230897
    Avatar of KeKeD
    KeKeD
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Wondering how those of you with scanners feel it has helped. I’m afraid I would scan everything and end up with digital clutter.

  • #230898
    Avatar of sleepykitten
    sleepykitten
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    @KeKeD – The “lure of the scanner” is strong – I have definitely scanned things that I could have just recycled, so you have to be careful. That being said, I love my scanner – it has allowed me to get rid of a lot of paper and it is also nice to have a digital backup of some things.

  • #230902
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    @Ella – “eye of newt” – LOL. :-)

    I am in for this too, though it won’t be a daily 15 minute thing. One of my February goals is my bookkeeping. I have already sorted and organized my records for the tax flailing. The data entry will be my principal February task for that goal.

    I am also going to need to get all of DH’s records sorted out and organized. He usually does this for me, usually in March. I want ‘em this month, this year.

    And for a third February Paper goal, I’m going to see if I can get DH onboard to address *at least one* cube of the 5×5 Expedit in the home office, which is chock full of paper crap ranging from antique textbooks to magazine back issues to diet books we don’t use to crapity crap crap.

    Inspiration: we’ve been hating that 5×5 for a long time but it is so very capacious, and we just haven’t found anything that is more functional with a comparable footprint. I am thinking now I will float the idea of replacing it with a 2×4 unit that we can place horizontally under our immense window in the home office, and get drawer or door inserts to close up the storage. Maybe the one in RED.

  • #230905
    Avatar of sleepykitten
    sleepykitten
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Well, I’ve done quite a bit of sorting today and have a three inch pile of papers to recycle. So that’s pretty great! But now it is time for the tougher stuff – doing the tasks the papers represent (some of which I’ve been putting off for months and so they have that “bad task” energy), figuring out if anything else can be recycled or scanned, making tough decisions about sentimental papers, etc.

    So now I’m starting to feel stuck. But if I’m honest with myself, there ARE things that I can do right now. I can file the “to file” stack. I can scan the business cards into Evernote. Etc. Maybe the way to get through this is to do the easiest thing first. And then the next easiest thing. And so on. Otherwise, if I look at the piles as a whole, they feel entirely overwhelming and super duper scary.

  • #230906
    Avatar of EllieA
    EllieA
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I just found this forum and was so inspired by your idea, Professor, and by the other posts that I created a sign-in for my first participatory foray in UNCLUTTERER. This is my highest accolade as I have been following the blog for almost 3 years!

    I knew I need this: 1) we are downsizing by 2/3rds as soon as we sell our “big” house;

    2) I have an all-in-one fax/copier/scanner and I am determined to learn how to use it and get going (so that is one of my goals for Feb.

    My other goals:
    Spend 1.5 hours x 4 on the weekends in February organizing photos into boxes. I’ve pulled apart all but a couple of albums, but need to finish the job! This will be a re-start on this project.

    Spend 1.5 hours x 4 on the weekends organizing my file of very important information, i.e. accounts and passwords for on-line purposes; account information for banking, credit cards, utilities, cable, telephone etc. in preparation for cancelling them when we move/ moving; service people so I can pass on this list to new buyers. I’ve stuffed layers of info and have to make sure I keep just the latest and correct information and shred the rest.

    And for my daily 20 minutes review either my physical files and my virtual files and get rid of unnecessary entries/pages. I will wait to scan my physical ones for a month when I feel more confident of my scanning prowess.

    Thanks!

  • #230907
    Avatar of KeKeD
    KeKeD
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    sleepykitten – I have the same reaction to my paper piles!

    I had a little trouble starting this morning but ended up unearthing some papers regarding some unhappy times many moons ago. I was motivated to shred everything but one document and then was able to tackle some more recent items that were covering the flat surfaces. Still much to do but a productive start: 1 grocery sack of shred, pile of recycle and much filing done. I even decluttered some saved podcasts as I worked.

  • #230912
    Avatar of EllieA
    EllieA
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Good idea about the podcast declutering, KeKeD!

  • #230948
    Avatar of Sasjanep
    Sasjanep
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I am so in here as well, I really enjoyed the January challenges and will miss the daily tasks, so am glad you suggested this Prof.

    I have 2 seperate goals, so I can pick up whichever I fancy a day.

    1) get the Brownie and Guide accounts in order, all recepits together and relevant bank statements filed together. (these still come in paper form, but it does make it easier for checking over later). these need to be submitted at a meeting on 7th March, so they will fit in nicely.

    2) clear out old financial papers, and shred them. Sort and file the other misc stuff. Go through the file of recipes and craft ideas and recycle those I am never going to attempt.

    That should keep me going all month.

    And welcome EllieA! I am new here too, also a long time lurker.

  • #230974
    Avatar of Astreja
    Astreja
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I bit the proverbial bullet and started doing the bank reconciliations for my aunt’s Power of Attorney paperwork.

    It actually went much smoother than I expected (mainly because I found an old bank reconciliation spreadsheet among some files backed up from my previous computer, and used it as a template). 2011 is finished, printed and bound in the file, and I’m into 2012.

  • #230978

    February Paper Cure

    welcome, EllieA and Sasjanep!
    yes, sleepykitten’s and KeKeD’s reactions to the paper clutter resonate with me.

    Sunday afternoon & evening is usually my time for catching up on personal correspondence (both paper and digital), church/charity periodicals, (sometimes) read a non-academic book, and then putting my weekly planning cap on. From that, ideally, I could chug along from Monday morning onward just “doing” without having to figure what/when/how.

    As for these paper piles, it will be relatively simple to pull out the non-university teaching/volunteer/consultation stuff I’ve done, purge, and file the rest in a binder. I have two people needing new packets for that (mailing Monday), so that’s my springboard for getting the whole category uncluttered and organized. A far bigger category is my university-level teaching paperwork, much of which I’ll need to draw on for a portfolio submission thing, and then bits and pieces for job apps later. There’s a meeting this week about those portfolios, so I’ll see what I have and how it will be needed.

  • #230981
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    welcome elliea.

    vjb….where have you been? good to see you around!
    you are perfectly correct….five years post-lodgement is the requirement.
    however my accountant is usually running a couple years behind with my stuff….they get all kinds of wacky extensions….so i keep things seven years (usually turns out to be five or six years post-lodgement).
    additionally, i have a slightly complex company structure and i think it is just safer to keep things a tiny bit longer. i would hate to have to forensically reconstruct things….
    but nine years is crazy!

  • #230982
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    and my major effort today was to scan the original of my grandmother’s wedding report in the little local newspaper…..i have put the original safely away, and printed a copy to hang on the back of her wedding photo.
    it is so sweet, and all the women’s clothes are described in loving detail.

  • #230984
    Avatar of vjb
    vjb
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Hello Bandicoot! :)

    Where have I been… Well, very briefly, I bought a flat, I got a new job, and then the latter didn’t go as planned. :-/ I’ve been lurking but not posting.

    I’m still making Bandicoot Balm though! :) And I think of you every time I get the double boiler out. Let me know when you’re coming down to Melbourne next – let’s do lunch!

  • #231044
    Avatar of KeKeD
    KeKeD
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    1. transferred info from old to new paper calendar, recycled old
    2. transferred info to new electronic calendar
    3. updated some financial things
    4. have to finish paperwork for FIL’s doctor appt on Tuesday

  • #231047
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    ooooo, that would be fun!
    i shall keep you posted…..at the moment i have no travel plans (first time in practically for ever) …..we are finishing this house if it kills us…..but things change on a dime, and the year is still young.
    happy flat-warming to you, and i hope you are enjoying it.

  • #231050
    Avatar of Sky
    Sky
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Finished the 1099 info and got it to the accountant for our Real Estate agents. Now for the taxes, ewwww!

    Kept up with all our expenses and income for January and started on
    February. Eye opening when you see what comes in and what goes out on paper.

    Cleaned up all the packing stuff from ebay selling. I made a little bit of money but what a pain in the a$$.

    Balanced personal and business checkbooks.

    Cleared my desk and filed everything and shredded the shred pile.

    vjb, do tell, what is bandicoot balm?

  • #231059
    Avatar of Northshore
    Northshore
    Participant

    February Paper Cure

    It took me two days to commit, but I’m in. I’m limiting myself to the office which has six file drawers, two bins and miscellaneous piles. The drawers, after two years of occasional culling, are not full. I’d like to convert all the files to hanging files and use the bottom drawers to store supplies and my tax-preparation materials. That will allow me to move a two-shelf bookcase out. I am starting today by removing the 2012 records to the inactive bin and shredding 2011. (Yes, I keep more than I need to but it’s a lot less than I used to keep.)

  • #231063
    Avatar of Katha
    Katha
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    What did I write just two days ago?

    “I will start today by reviewing the pile of sentimental ticket stubs and brochures etc. from 2010 that I have tucked away – I’ll do some “quick-scrapbook” pages that go into my “Memories”-lever arch folder. If I’m lucky, I will be able to finish this in half an hour or so.”

    Ha!

    The pile turned out to hold stuff from 1996 to 2011, with most of it from 2007 onwards – everything from wedding announcements, to birth and death notices to …the cute squirrel-decorated banderole the toilet paper on the camping trip to Poland came in.

    So 30 min was a gross mis-estimate. Now, most everything is tucked away where it belongs – a good bit of it in the recycling bin, thankfully. Took me more than two hours, though.

  • #231121
    Avatar of Astreja
    Astreja
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Looked up the requirements for a transit tax credit that I can claim on my income taxes, and went through a stack of cash register receipts and old bus passes to match them up. I’ve got some receipts without passes, and some passes where I have no idea what happened to the receipt, but I do have a nice stack that *is* eligible for the credit.

  • #231125

    February Paper Cure

    I read and finished with three books today that can now go back to the library, but I have not quite finished my short stack of newsletters/journals. Anyway, *bound* printed matter was not supposed to count on this thread, according to my personal rules.

    I skimmed through the two containers at my desk and filled my wastebasket, while ascertaining that the uni teaching materials I need by Wednesday are not in those piles. That leaves four 5″ boxes to skim through in the next couple of days. I’m not turning the materials in on Wednesday, but it would help to know what I have before I attend the how-to-prepare-your-portfolio workshop. Might not be the best way to tackle these piles, but that’s how it is.

    I also found a neat little packet of recipes here. They certainly don’t belong at my workdesk (should be written in a certain notebook in the kitchen or purged). I won’t deal with them now–lest I become hopelessly distracted. Maybe I’ll get to them before the end of the month, but now I need to focus on the desk papers.

    I also found I have one sealed official copy of my undergrad transcript left. Looks like I might need it for an application next month, so I’m glad I don’t have to order from that school.

  • #231131

    February Paper Cure

    Just read through this thread again. Looks like we have 25 people participating and with quite a range of goals & situations, so a daily assignment would probably be hit-or-miss. I won’t suggest tasks often–when I do, you can take or leave them–but any of you are also welcome to step up and offer a daily challenge.

    Monday, Feb 4. @WORK. If you work outside of the home (or at least in a separate space of your home), how much paper clutter do you have there? what are your workspace paper goals for the month? Spend 15 mins purging as much as you can there. Then, try to get other people’s paper off your desk asap–this category will be different for each of us; there might be a steady stream coming in, but try to swim against that current for a bit.

  • #231144
    Avatar of clutterbug22
    clutterbug22
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Spent 20 mins going round some rooms corralling loose bits of paper and put them in the Paper Sorting basket.

  • #231153
    Avatar of Northshore
    Northshore
    Participant

    February Paper Cure

    I brought some old files to the living room during the Super Bowl and separated the shredding from recycling. I may not do the shredding; I can bring a whole box to the Earth Day fair; that way the shredded materials will be used for animal bedding. The recycling is out in the bin. There are more files to go but I cleaned out a lot of extraneous material from some of the financial files set up after DH died–I kept more than usual that year.

    I also went through the pile of magazines and recycled some old Economists that I haven’t read. I get them from a friend so I don’t feel so bad about not passing them on.

    Tonight I plan to finish clearing out the rest of the active financial files.

  • #231155

    February Paper Cure

    Went through a small portable file box and culled 2″+ of paper — a lot of it DH’s employment documents from 15 years ago. He really does not need to keep leave and earnings statements from 1998. Moved the remaining files into another file box. Also went through a leatherette portfolio and tossed most of the contents — a few things refiled elsewhere.

    I now have an empty file box — think I will put the class materials for a day-long seminar I occasionally facilitate and take it to work, which will leave more room in my own file cabinet. If I do that this afternoon I can offload it tomorrow at the staff meeting.

    This afternoon I will shred the stuff I culled — before DH has a chance to rescue it. He thinks he will be burnt in the fires of hell if he ever throws away a scrap of paper..

    Also lined up tomorrow’s project — another — bigger — file box marked as DH’s military records (unsorted) I suspect that more than half of it is duplicates and can be shredded.

    Here’s this morning’s haul:

  • #231163
    Avatar of EllieA
    EllieA
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I didn’t get to photos this weekend, so will add 15 minutes a day this week to get to my 1.5 hours. That’s ok, I finished a file drawer and culled cookbooks. (Do have paper recipe clippings to work on though.)

    But I di work on half of my “Important papers” file – and updated copies of credit cards etc. Other half for next weekend and that’s finally off the list.

    Today: finish some paperwork for one of the BOD’s I sit on, personal correspondance and 10 minutes on recipes.

  • #231173

    February Paper Cure

    Started the paper cure at work with a bang (it may turn into a whimper as the week progresses!) – 1000 emails deleted, a huge block of work filed electronically and a box full of papers recycled. Yay!

  • #231176
    Avatar of Sky
    Sky
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Went through more of MIL’s papers. Kept 2 unused notebooks, a hole puncher and 3 binder clips.

  • #231186

    February Paper Cure

    *Gloating alert*

    My personal uncluttering goal today was to skim two boxes and pull out the uni-teaching related materials. I looked through ALL FOUR of those 5″ boxes, THREW AWAY HALF the stuff (10 inches of paper junk)! I put all my teaching materials in one, ready to bring to Wednesday’s meeting (and, as I prepare the portfolio, I can have a better sense of what else to throw out from that category). I am ready for a workshop ahead of time, for once. wow. I thought that would take so much longer. I did that by 10 am, too, so now I’m taking care of my other work before a 2pm meeting on campus.

    I haven’t added anything to that empty bottom file drawer yet, but I’ve cut down the 34″ paper monster by a few inches yesterday and ten inches today. Granted that was the easy part, and the rest will be slower going. Some of the rest is from other (non-uni) teaching and consultation, some are articles I probably no longer need, and some are earlier stages of research on chapters and talks and so forth that I still need to work on. I ought not to have let it get so bad, but at least now I know what is there and I’m not dreading/fearing the Great Unknown Depths of the Paper Piles. The slips of paper and handwritten notes on earlier research–it was a mistake to have let that slide & it’s definitely slowing down my current work. I will be smarter about that for future writing projects.

  • #231207
    Avatar of Sasjanep
    Sasjanep
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I got all my papers together, thankfully there arent too many.

    Recycled and half an inch of articles and bits and pieces, and another half an inch for shredding.

    I saw Prof.Clutter’s challenge while I was at work and spent the last half an hour of the work day clearing my desk and replying to emails. Cleared out my inbox and left a small pile of things to attend to in the morning. Some of it had been hanging around for ages, so it felt great!

  • #231213

    February Paper Cure

    Well done, everyone! You earned a gloat, Prof. Clutter.

    Spent almost an hour this afternoon shredding. Since I need to shred before DH comes home and decides to inspect every scrap (he’s insisted on this in the past and piles have lingered for years), I need to slow down a bit — the shredding takes longer than the sorting and I don’t want to devote all day every day to this.

  • #231222
    Avatar of Northshore
    Northshore
    Participant

    February Paper Cure

    Wow, it’s been a productive start of the week!
    Susan, I wonder if my DH mentored yours. I used to send ancient catalogs and ads to be recycled at my daughter’s. He never missed a thing.

    I finished reviewing one file drawer and pulled out last year’s materials. There wasn’t as much as I had hoped but still a 3 or 4 inch pile to the shredder box.

  • #231226
    Avatar of Astreja
    Astreja
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Currently in Purge ‘n’ Shred mode. I set up a folder for my 2012 tax return and shredded the oldest one in the file box. (I keep a separate folder for the old Notices of Assessment so that I still have a summary of that tax year.)

    Also found some really old tax return rough copies from the parental units’ returns and am reducing them to confetti, too. The file box feels distinctly less stuffed now.

  • #231227
    Avatar of Endof20s
    Endof20s
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I’m in for the challenge! I actually started this last week after visiting my parents (which always puts me in the mood to declutter!) and have already filled the shredder twice.

    Tonight I moved all of the loose/piles of papers onto the kitchen table. My goal is to have it sorted and organized into baskets and folders by next Monday (Feb 11th).

    So far I’ve gone through about 6 months of 2012 receipts and organized everything from 2013. I work from home so I also have all of my business paperwork to handle. Another big success tonight was moving one of my bookshelves into the office closet. This gives me more floor space and will allow me to move all my cords to the other side of the desk (where they’re hidden by the wall).

    Whew. Diving in!

  • #231230

    February Paper Cure

    Welcome, Endof20s!

  • #231241
    Avatar of vjb
    vjb
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    @sky – Bandicoot Balm is Bandicoot’s Famous All-purpose Balm. She very graciously shared the recipe with me long ago. It’s magic – cleanser, cream and lip balm all in one. :)

    Apologies for the off-topic post, everyone. Golly, this thread’s moving fast!

  • #231253
    Avatar of sleepykitten
    sleepykitten
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    So, at home I have three half-full file boxes: large, medium, and small. I think with some purging I can consolidate all the important files into the medium file box with a bit of extra room to allow for modest file growth over time. I could then donate the large and small boxes.

    Here’s the problem: the medium file box is also the ugliest of the three – black plastic, totally utilitarian. But I think I need to go with function over beauty, even though it makes me sort of sad.

    At work, I found a plastic tray that will work OK for an inbox. I gathered a bunch of newer papers in it until it was full. There are many more papers around the office, some of them quite old, but I think I need to do this in gather/purge cycles – once the inbox is full, deal with the papers. Then refill.

    So…day #5:

    1) Consolidate file boxes at home
    2) At least one inbox gather/purge cycle at work

  • #231254
    Avatar of Netleigh
    Netleigh
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    A start on the paper cure, I sent off a my travel insurance medical claim this morning and the file of copies is already in the filing cabinet! Better than lurking around in a to file heap.

  • #231255

    February Paper Cure

    Went through the file tote of DH’s unsorted military records for 10 minutes. Found his original discharge papers and VA eligibility certificate which went into the “important papers” notebook. One more pass — tomorrow — and I think I can empty this tote and consolidate the remaining papers into another box. Will shred the small culled stack later.

  • #231263

    February Paper Cure

    I don’t want to get so caught up in working on the paperwork backlog that i forget the CURRENT stuff. So today I added up all the reimbursables that I’m owed from work and wrote out a check for someone else to sign at our staff meeting today. It was a lot. DH will be happy.

  • #231272
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    @sleepykitten – maybe that’s a reward you can keep in mind for the future: a really nice file box. :-)

    I also resent storage solutions, however functional, that are aesthetically unpleasing.

  • #231285
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    i have hit an enforced rest stop on the paper front.
    i cannot get into my office for a few days, with the tiling underway.
    technically, yes, my files are mostly resting in my bedroom right now
    i pulled them all out of the filing cabinet in order to move it, and i am loath to disturb the pile, because it is carefully in order.
    if i mess with it now, it will be more difficult next week.
    this MIGHT just be an excuse, but i am running with it.

  • #231302
    Avatar of Sky
    Sky
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Bandicoot, are you willing to share your balm recipe?

    Shredded two 2012 calendars (they had phone #’s, etc. on them). Paid bills online….no paper. Went through all my coupons and recipes I’ve printed out and recycled most of it and put the recipes I want to try in my cookbook. Put all of MIL’s paperwork in one folder but couldn’t decide where to put it.

  • #231306
    Avatar of sleepykitten
    sleepykitten
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Somehow I ended up back at home before I did a “gather/purge” cycle of my work inbox. Oops. I suppose the papers will all still be there tomorrow morning.

  • #231309

    February Paper Cure

    Here’s some German practice for you, DJK. While looking through some old recipe cards i came across my birth announcement:

  • #231314
    Avatar of Northshore
    Northshore
    Participant

    February Paper Cure

    How cool is that! Recipes and important newspaper clippings seem to go together. I found some neat clippings in my grandmother’s recipe box.

    I took a break from the file cabinet and attacked a box of leftovers from the massive purge of DH’s files. There are a still a few I am keeping (closing papers from the sale of prior homes) but the shredding box is getting full and I have another half bag to recycle.

  • #231317
    Avatar of Swede
    Swede
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I have tamed the paper monster but inspired by this thread I pulled out a few papers to recycle from my “important papers-binder” and brought a few with me to work for scanning. While thinking about it at work I realize I have a few things to tackle:

    - Go through my doctors receipts. My “free for a year” health card expired so I need to only keep what is current for a new card. It’s all neatly tucked in a small envelope so a small but boring task.

    - Go through my scanned documents. I’m sure I can get rid of old bank statements and such and only keep the yearly statement. Same with payslips. 175 files in there now and I’m sure I could get rid of at least 50! Also boring to deal with.

    - Finish my diary pages. I’m down from three large binders to 120 pages but need to recommit!

  • #231319
    Avatar of Endof20s
    Endof20s
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Finished with my 2012 receipts! I got the tax deductible ones saved in a clean ziplock gallon sized bag.

    Separated out the home improvement receipts and gas receipts. But now I need a new gas receipts envelope because I used the first one to kill a spider….

    Tossed 2 paper grocery sacks full of shredded papers in the recycling. Next I need to go through all my mail and toss the junk, shred anything with my name on it and file what I need to.

  • #231325

    February Paper Cure

    ok, nothing as grand as yesterday’s uncluttering, but I did clear out two small folders, sent 8 postcards/notes/greetings, and eliminated lists and loose papers that have cropped up in the last week.

    and I cleaned out my shoulder bag, which seems to beclutter itself every 48 hours with no assistance from me.

  • #231333
    Avatar of djk
    djk
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Wow, that is cool, Susan (Or Susann?) you were a whopping 10 lbs!
    With that German background, did you learn German growing up?

  • #231345
    Avatar of KeKeD
    KeKeD
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Well done everyone! My efforts have taken a back seat to a family situation so today I shredded a year of old bank statements. Low hanging fruit but at least forward progress!

  • #231350

    February Paper Cure

    djk: Learned very little German at home, DJK — just food terms, prayers & songs. My older cousins who stayed in the city, went to the German church and spent more time with the immigrant grandparents (the two I knew both died when I was 6) knew more. I did live in Germany for two years and learned more then.

    Yesterday I went through two small recipes boxes of my mother’s recipes. Think I’ll go through them, scan some, and put them on a website, then send the originals to my brother to deal with as he sees fit. That could be a nice project while watching TV on Sunday night. Today — back to the military records.

  • #231366

    February Paper Cure

    Spent 15 minutes this morning skimming through my two-drawer filing cabinet to see what’s there. One drawer is personal, the other for work. Have a better idea of how to proceed now. While I was at it, cleaned out a small pile of old home improvement paperwork — don’t need to keep brochures & the sketches of things that were completed 2 years ago!

    May do a little military record pruning later today.

  • #231385
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    i saw the coolest thing on pinterest
    someone scanned a recipe their grandma had written out.
    there was some technical fiddling about to size things crrectly.
    then she had the recipe printed onto cotton-linen fabric at spoonflower (the guys who print anything you like onto various fabrics and the minimum is tiny, maybe one yard?).
    so now she has four really original and lovely and personal tea towels.

  • #231390
    Avatar of Ella
    Ella
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    bandicoot: That’s a lovely way to preserve and transform precious pieces of aging paper. Years ago, my mother selected her favorite of my childhood drawings done on fragile foolscap, and sent it off to be transferred to a square of tile. Then she had it inset into the lid of a small wooden trinket box. It’s one of my most cherished belongings, not only for preserving my little scribbling but for always reminding me of my mother’s love. So sweet.

  • #231392
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    ella, that is a treasure indeed!

  • #231401
    Avatar of s
    s
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Susan, good work on military records…it’s so hard to get rid of any of that since you never seem to know what you’ll need to prove later. I recommend scanning the VA and Dd214 stuff….you can often submit it electronically these days, I’ve found.

  • #231409

    February Paper Cure

    Bandicoot: I saw that same Pinterest about the tea towels, which is what started me looking at the recipe boxes. I might end up doing that, but maybe not . . .

    s: I’m only getting rid of the most obviously unneeded stuff. I do not need 25 copies of old orders, or old PT test scores, for example. Someday I’ll do a finer tune, but right now DH & I both have acres of duplicate stuff.

  • #231413
    Avatar of Swede
    Swede
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Ooh, I love the tile and the tea towel ideas! So adorable.

    Accountability works – yesterday I went by a pharmacy and made sure I was registered in their computer system so now I don’t need to keep ANY receipts from pharmacies anymore! Yay! That’s 90% of the medical receipts in the recycling bin. :) Still need to keep doctors receipts but that’s only a maximum of 6 receipts a year (to use as proof for your free for a year healthcare).

    Maybe I’ll start browsing the scanned docs… Maybe. *sighs* So boring!

  • #231423
    Avatar of Swede
    Swede
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Digital docs: Down from 175 to 125. Deleted a lot of timesheets (after cross checking to the payslip), random bank statements (I only keep the yearly summary) plus a bunch of payslips from 2009. Could get rid of a lot more but I am too bored right now. :)

  • #231447

    February Paper Cure

    chucked away:
    - about 35 digital files (not sure if I meant to count digital for this)
    - a handful of semi-recent papers & another old warranty.

    tomorrow should be a bigger paper cure day.

  • #231450
    Avatar of Astreja
    Astreja
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Did 2 more months of my aunt’s 2012 bank reconciliation.

  • #231472
    Avatar of Katha
    Katha
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Doing fits and spurts:

    Tossed the big pile of envelopes addressed to my grandmother in the mid-eighties, which my dad passed on to me to a few years ago for me to include the postage on them in my stamp collection.

    I did some stamp collecting from ages 12-16 or so, but have long since given up on it and never developed a real interest in it.
    The stamp collection itself is leaving, too – pretty sure there are no rare treasures among it.

  • #231490

    February Paper Cure

    DH had a doctor’s appointment this morning, left late for work and came back to change clothes after, which sort of killed the shank of the morning for paper clutter.

    So — I went through the wicker basket where I keep my checkbooks (one used up one that is now in the shredder — not as bad as I thought) and moved the day-long seminar backup materials into a now-empty portable filebox. Will go through that later (I probably don’t need to keep all of this, as they are duplicates.) It did clear a lot of space in my work file drawer, though, so I can begin to work on getting those files up-to-date.

  • #231509

    February Paper Cure

    :( I have been in a funk since the beginning of the year. I keep looking at this thread and telling myself to get on with it… ugh. I hate when I stall like this.

    I can’t even blame winter for my mood-slippage. It’s been sunny and in the 60′s here in OK.

    Hmmm.

  • #231516
    Avatar of djk
    djk
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Sending lots of hogs to you, lkh. Nice to have you back in the ‘hood!

  • #231518

    February Paper Cure

    thankee djk. see? I’m still floating about online and ignoring the paper…

    It must be time to bring out The Timer and force myself to do something :-(

  • #231540
    Avatar of Astreja
    Astreja
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Finally printed out an order for the tax software I need for this year, and got it into the mail. By the time the last of my information slips comes in, I should be ready to go.

  • #231543

    February Paper Cure

    The papers I got out of the house today were not above and beyond the course of duty. Doubt I’ll have time to do more than shake my fist at the paper monster tomorrow, as I have an all day conference & dinner.

  • #231544

    February Paper Cure

    Yesterday I cleared another folder of papers from my desk and recycled them, plus deleted another
    500 emails. Am planning to do some more desk emptying today. My colleagues can’t get over how empty my desk is looking,it is usually so messy! I always do well with a bit of praise ;)

  • #231549
    Avatar of Joless
    Joless
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Out: a bunch of papers for a car we no longer own, paperwork from a house we rented during renovations, some brochures from when we bought our car.

  • #231556
    Avatar of Northshore
    Northshore
    Participant

    February Paper Cure

    Went though another section of the file cabinet, finding DH’s family history files. I will keep these but find another place for them after making sure everything is scanned. Tossed a few papers but not much.

  • #231563
    Avatar of sleepykitten
    sleepykitten
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    @lkh – Did you make any progress? It’s OK if you didn’t, but I believe that you can! Maybe this weekend will be your paper cure weekend. I tend to work in fits and starts, myself. Slow and steady might be better, but it isn’t really how I roll….

  • #231566
    Avatar of EllieA
    EllieA
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I just combed my cookbooks and found 6 to sell in my house sale (whenever that comes, i.e. we sell the house) – at least I have an “out” cupboard where they go. Feels great. I have to pare down more, but starting is good.

    I worked on my virtual files and bookmarks, axing away with abandon. Despite the absence of actual space these files take, they do clutter a lot of psychic space. Often it’s my aspirational bookmarks that are just as troublesome as aspirational books on the shelves!

  • #231567
    Avatar of sleepykitten
    sleepykitten
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    @EllieA – yes, my internet bookmarks are almost all “things I want to learn” or “things I want to write about” – I need to admit to myself that not ALL that learning/writing is going to get done.

  • #231582

    February Paper Cure

    After a week of clearing, my desk at work is looking so.much.better :-)

    Today I rounded off the week by clearing off some more papers into the recycling bin, and deleting a whole folder of emails stored on my desktop.

  • #231585

    February Paper Cure

    As I mentioned in ATAD, I recycled a 4″+ stack of old large postcards from past work events. I do need to keep an archive — but not 100 cards from each year :) Also straightened up the hanging organizer I use to store work handouts.

  • #231655

    February Paper Cure

    ok, I had a really long day of conference events and then a late conference dinner. I would have gone straight to bed, but in honor of this Paper Cure, I stayed up long enough to go through the remaining unsorted papers and pull out print articles or photocopied book chapters that I no longer need for my research but that someone at this weekend’s conference might use in preparing her proposal on a related topic. I found 8 and will give them to her tomorrow. And she might end up throwing away all or most, but at least I tried to help, while taming my own paper monster.

  • #231666
    Avatar of EllieA
    EllieA
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I go into an all day meeting today and tomorrow and then on Monday we drive all day to New Mexico. So my paper/virtual decluttering will be minimal to none-existent. “Talk” on Tuesday.

  • #231670
    Avatar of jlw
    jlw
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Blergh – not getting very far here. Work is wiping me out and it will probably stay that way for the next month or so.

    I tried several times to register for my insurance company’s site, but it keeps telling me “technical error”. I may have to call them.

    I did do a bit more shredding and located a couple folders of stuff that I need my husband to look through. And I rearranged the folders in the top 2 drawers of the filing cabinet so that all the important stuff is together there.

  • #231684
    Avatar of Northshore
    Northshore
    Participant

    February Paper Cure

    I have finished another drawer in the filing cabinet but didn’t find much more that I could discard. I read about people having just one or two file drawers and I don’t know how they do it. I have kept only the year end statements for the IRA’s and retirement accounts but that alone takes over half a drawer. The main thing that I keep for longer than recommended is our tax records. They reside in one bankers box and when they outgrow the box, I’ll pull out the supporting documents from the oldest returns. I am frustrated and wondering if I will ever get this stuff pared down.

  • #231687

    February Paper Cure

    this morning before going to the second day of this conference, I got rid of another inch or so of loose paper (mostly peripheral to my MA exam reading years ago).

    By my calculation, my 34″ of unsorted paper at the beginning of this month has become a mere 9″ unsorted stuff + 5″ specifically teaching materials that I will draw on for my portfolio, and can probably cut by 50-75% later. Amazing progress, just because of my accountability here. :) Also, I cut my digital clutter–docs, bookmarks, GMail–which I thought would be a separate project.

    @Northshore, My financial records are comprised of just a few small folders, ~1 inch thick total. But my finances are small and simple: my grad student / teaching assistant budget never called for more than a 1040EZ, so supporting docs are just a few single pages; my monthly credit card statements are online, though I have the opening & year-end paperwork for that and checking in the files. As I face the financial precarity of adjunct teaching in the next year, I might wish for a box of files and the accounts attached to them! Anyway, it sounds like yours have what you need, no deadwood, and are in order and out of the way–i.e., not clutter. Is that right?

  • #231688
    Avatar of vjb
    vjb
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    @lkh – I’m so glad someone else has been in a funk – though I do hope you’ve emerged from yours now? These last couple of weeks I’ve felt so crappy over my January Cure failure and the ever-mounting to-do list.

    BUT on Friday I cleaned out my work desk and digital files to mark the end of my allotted time on a project, and that was satisfying. And I’m beginning to build up some momentum on my house jobs list (I’m NOT calling it my ‘undone Cure list’, shhhh.)

  • #231689
    Avatar of vjb
    vjb
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Nice work, Prof.Clutter!!

  • #231690
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    northshore, that does sound like a lot of financial paperwork.
    on one hand i’d say, go digital. scan it, have it sent via email, or keep it online.
    on the other hand, if this is your income, then it is important, and a half drawer of space is worth it.

  • #231696
    Avatar of jlw
    jlw
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Okay, now I am getting somewhere!

    I called the insurance company – turns out I already had an account that I’d forgotten about. I got into that and then shredded a lot of excess stuff that I can see online now.

    Found and labeled a folder of my husband’s old tax returns from his previous country. There was also a “thank you for your donation” letter from a charity in there, unopened, from 1998. That’s before I met him. Yikes.

    I need to round up the cards we are saving (mostly handmade by his mom) and make a folder for those.

  • #231711
    Avatar of sleepykitten
    sleepykitten
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    DH went through a couple drawers of his paper today thanks to my enthusiasm – another 3 inches or so out to the recycling. Hooray!

    Given it is already the evening of the 9th, though, I need to get exponentially more serious with my files/stacks. I think I will have some time tomorrow to continue working.

  • #231738
    Avatar of clutterbug22
    clutterbug22
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Started to sort out a filing system for incoming mail and bits of paper, will see if this works, looking hopeful!

  • #231745

    February Paper Cure

    Have sorted out all my paperwork files for purchases and receipts today. I worked out a better system for holding onto receipts that is more accessible for when I am clearing out my purse, and went through all the manuals /guarantees, weeding out those we don’t own any more. Much better.

    Out: a pile of papers and receipts for shredding, another pile of guarantees etc for recycling.

  • #231760
    Avatar of Northshore
    Northshore
    Participant

    February Paper Cure

    Thank you for your comments, Prof & Bandicoot. I think my situation is kind of like paying taxes–be grateful that you have the taxable income. I have consolidated accounts as much as I can right now. Once I am 70, I have to start drawing on some of them and can eliminate some of the smaller ones even though they are paying a high guarantee. I am fairly organized and understand my finances; I use the reports that I keep. I am grateful that I have a decent retirement income and that DH & I agreed on the need to save for retirement from day one. And with that, I’ll go to church. ;-)

  • #231788
    Avatar of sleepykitten
    sleepykitten
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Just spent 30+ minutes in my file boxes – I had three, half-full boxes. I’ve emptied out the smallest of them and put it in the donation pile. I’m about to find PDF versions of instruction manuals I’ve saved so that I can recycle those – with the exception being that I am saving the paper copies of manuals for “big” appliances that will stay with the house when we sell it, since we plan on selling in the next couple years and a new buyer might appreciate them. I am putting those in a separate, clearly labeled pocket folder so that they don’t clutter up my files.

    I hope by the end of the day, I will be down to one, organized file box of “important papers” like finances, medical records, etc. (Sentimental papers are a separate category.)

  • #231794
    Avatar of Nina
    Nina
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    After not having done anything all week I am happy to report that my husband and I spent the afternoon going through papers and throwing away what we could and putting things we still need to hold on to but don’t n eed to access regularly into filling boxes.
    All in all we are throwing away two big rubbish bags of stuff and now the office looks much better. DH still needs to go through some more folders and there are personal papers I could tackle, but not sure I will do this anytime soon.
    I still have a lot of folders from my studies that are taking up space, but as I might still need those in the coming months I will hold onto them for now.

  • #231814
    Avatar of Sasjanep
    Sasjanep
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    A few more papers into the recycling and i have filed some others from the pile.

    Have also put last year’s payslips into the pile for shredding as i found my end of year summary.

    I really need to make a start on the accounts, thankfully some of the PEEPed papers were missing statements so that fills in some of the gaps.

  • #231819
    Avatar of Endof20s
    Endof20s
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Whew – I finally dealt with a huge stack of envelopes and mail from my kitchen table. That’s my third grocery bag full of paper to shred this weekend.

    While I do use my canvas bags a lot I always get paper at the main grocery store and use them for recycling paper from the shredder.

    Next I’m adding some paper labels to the baskets in my bathroom cabinet for organization. I’m way too cheap to buy one of those fancy cutting ones so I do it all by hand :)

  • #231828
    Avatar of Endof20s
    Endof20s
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    yes! finally got the movies traded in on Amazon – 17 items going out and $50 coming in :)

    I have a bunch more DVDs that I want to sell but are valued at 25-50 cents each. Should I
    a) sell them on amazon and take the $20 for them all
    b) try to sell locally
    c) donate and take the tax deduction (if any?)

  • #231867

    February Paper Cure

    the only paper out today was the handouts and notes from this past weekend. I have electronic copies of some of those papers and will follow up with three emails tomorrow. Otherwise, I’m done with all that.

    And I have figured out the paperwork due both Wed and Fri. Besides that, I should have time plow through some more of the unsorted papers this week.

  • #231903
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I cleaned out my art-biz file last night after getting the Etsy store re-launched. Resulting detritus went into the office shredder bin this morning.

  • #231919
    Avatar of sleepykitten
    sleepykitten
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Got distracted by other things yesterday and didn’t quite finish the file box consolidation, so hopefully I can tackle/finish that tonight. I’m glad we have all month to get things under control, because I still have a long way to go! :)

  • #231926

    February Paper Cure

    The good: Looks like I’m getting rid of several hundred sheets of arty paper from my stash
    The bad: Because in a moment of weakness I agreed to make 40 valentine booklets for our 12- week book group.
    The ugly: By Thursday morning!

  • #231935

    February Paper Cure

    Had another 10 mins spare today to clear papers off my desk, and put a handful for recycling – I am beginning to make real progress. Even inspired one of my co-workers to start clearing her papers, too!

  • #231944
    Avatar of jlw
    jlw
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Went through the old tax papers, but sadly I didn’t find anything I can get rid of. I guess that means I’ve been great about keeping them organized up until now! I did consolidate them into fewer and better-labeled folders.

  • #231969
    Avatar of Sky
    Sky
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Went through my 2 drawer file cabinet, reorganized it and put some files in it that were in a hand held file box. Shredded old check book registers, address labels, receipts and misc. papers. Recycled the shredded paper and some cardboard and paperwork I no longer need. My desk is clear and the file box is gone.

  • #231973

    February Paper Cure

    oh, susanintexas, I hope the valentines booklets are fun to make!
    congrats, sky, on getting rid of the file box.

    I took care of all 2012 financial paperwork and filed taxes. Thought the file drawer was ok, but I did go thru again and found 1.4 pounds of paper to take to the shredder!
    Filled the wastepaper basket, too.

    Tomorrow I have to finish a grant application, and then will be able to clear some more paper.

  • #231992
    Avatar of ArJa
    ArJa
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    February’s paper reduction challenge is finally finished: 2 archival quality photo boxes and one huge cardboard box of photos and ancient family letters gone through and contents consolidated into the 2 small boxes with room to spare for other photos hiding around the house. Four college yearbooks gone through, some pages kept for scanning, the rest recycled. Next the financial and medical paperwork needs to be thinned out (old out per retention schedule and newer in the proper folders) for tax paperwork next month.

  • #232024

    February Paper Cure

    Paper is really the thorn in my side . .. I’ve narrowed down my objectives for the month:

    (1) Empty a large wicker container where I just throw paper that should really be filed. A dysfunctional combination of personal & work papers. I will get it emptied. I did a quick inventory this afternoon and threw out a small pile.

    (2) We have a large filing tub of old tax returns that go back to the mid-80s. We only need to keep them for 7 years, or back to 2005. The records were many, many times this numerous several years ago and I had to painfully convince DH to let me throw out a lot. I am going to talk to him about letting me shred this. It hasn’t been opened since I filed it about 6 years ago. Wish me luck.

  • #232027
    Avatar of lucy1965
    lucy1965
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    @susan, would hauling the lot to Staples for secure shredding be an option? I think they’ll give you a certificate of destruction if you need one, and you could have a printout of the section of the IRS website that says how many years’ worth of returns an individual needs to keep on hand in case of arguments.

  • #232049

    February Paper Cure

    congratulations on finishing, ArJa.

    I threw out just a few more things but did not tackle a new category of paper clutter today. I need to keep up my momentum and knock out about 6″ of paper this week, but it’s getting harder now that I’ve taken care of the low-hanging fruit. :)

    I did want to take a moment to notice how much I’ve transformed my workspace. A turning point was last month when I took care of the cables, but it goes deeper now. And I know my thinking and work processes have gotten clearer, too, as I can find what I need and I’m not swamped or distracted:
    My 2′ x 4′ desk is completely clear except for a small plant, lamp, and laptop. My smaller desk has a pen holder, a small box of notepaper & sticky notes, and another clear surface. The shelf in between now holds neatly my tickler & active research files. The shelf above has stationery and calligraphy supplies; the shelves below are handbooks and several now-empty 3″ magazine holders. They go with the rest of my desk set and, when I resume teaching, would hold the active term’s grading and materials for each class, so I won’t get rid of them (yet?). The bottom shelf has some archived binders and my computer/book bags (leather shoulder bags, 1 brown, 1 black–is that excessive?). All the rest of my papers (even my unsorted papers for the rest of this month’s cure) fit in the 2-drawer file cabinet. I actually do have to go across the room for the primary and secondary books I need for research (even for current projects). But I can bring a handful of books, concentrate more fully on those, and stretch my legs when I need to exchange them for others. The exercise, such as it is, will do me good. :)

  • #232050
    Avatar of Endof20s
    Endof20s
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Today I filled two paper sacks full of shredded papers, mostly receipts.

    I have been working my way through business related papers, adding notes to client files and jotting down all my inspiration ideas from scribbles. The trouble is I stop and start writing posts or programs and then get distracted from the paper stack!

    In non-personal paper news, I have also finished a huge refinishing project so all the cardboard, newspaper and such is now in the recycle bin which is really helping me clean up the garage.

  • #232065

    February Paper Cure

    Lucy: I don’t mind the shredding — it’s DH’s resistance that is the stumbling block. When I first culled this stack of papers there were monthly utility bills from 25 years ago for houses he no longer owns. It took quite a bit of convincing for him to agree that stuff could be shredded. Getting it all down into one large, organized box was quite an accomplishment Now I just have to convince him he does not need 20-year-old tax returns.

    Today I made another 20 minute pass at the big wicker paper dump. Was able to toss a 2-inch wodge of paper. Pulled out all my personal stuff and filed it. This should take about a week of 20 minute session, then all that will be in the container is the check book and deposit slips.

  • #232066
    Avatar of sleepykitten
    sleepykitten
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I have to convince *myself* I don’t need 20 year old tax returns! :) I actually don’t have quite that many years accumulated, but even though I know you only need to save 7 years, I have kept all of them. I guess I am a little paranoid. I suppose I could just keep digital scans of anything older than 7 years – I wouldn’t have the original, but I would have SOMETHING.

  • #232068
    Avatar of liag
    liag
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Lottielot: LOL. I keep asking DH when I get to retire from this part of my working life, now that the paid employment part is finished. He doesn’t answer.

  • #232128

    February Paper Cure

    hmm, the activity level on this thread is lessening. Anyone want to suggest a specific daily challenge?

    I’ll be at my desk all day tomorrow preparing for a colloquium Friday, but I plan to carve out some time to purge archive a subset of my teaching materials (from my p.t. 2ndary work). There I’ve proclaimed it to the world, so now I must stick with it or lose all honor!

    I also have two large envelopes of tidbits & clippings to send longtime family friends. Just need to add a newsy and cheery personal letter to each and send them off. If my work ends early enough, I’ll have time to finish and mail them tomorrow. But no promises.

  • #232155
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    @sleepykitten, I keep the actual tax returns forever. The backup, for only the current year (i.e. 2012) + seven years. :-)

    Re-launching the Etsy store led me to cleaning out my crafty business file – a bit. Yesterday I redid my inventory sheet, which means I can now go back to that file and purge the old inventories.

    Associated clutter in the way of old printed photographs is going to get scanned *very soon* and then the old prints will be destroyed.

    Prof., that’s me making a proclamation so now *I* have to defend *my* honor.
    :-)

  • #232161

    February Paper Cure

    I handed out the valentine booklets this morning and they were a great hit! That’s 45 little booklets gone — plus, I carelessly miscalculated the number of pages I needed at the copy shop (note to self: when you are using half-sheets of paper, divide by 2) and ended up with a big stack of extras, which I put into the recycle bin instead of saving for some future valentine’s day gift. That is really a step forward. Really.

  • #232179
    Avatar of sleepykitten
    sleepykitten
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    @ProfClutter – Yes, it’s tough because basically, given that I haven’t made progress as fast as I might have liked to, my daily challenge every day is “keep chipping away at the scary piles, some of which are growing rather than shrinking”. I’ve been chipping away fairly successfully at home, but haven’t made much progress at work, because it is hard to justify cleaning the office when there is so much other urgent work!

    Still, given that today is Friday, it would be great to make a dent in the office papers and come back to a cleaner space next week…that would almost certainly require staying late, as my day is booked, but it might be worth it….

    I also still need a designated “inbox” for papers at home – so finding or purchasing something that will serve that task is going to be a daily challenge for me, maybe this weekend when I’ll theoretically have time to shop if I need to.

  • #232181

    February Paper Cure

    I have transformed my desk at work! Save for one small pile, the papers I need to keep are stored in a few folders. So much paperwork has been recycled, some things returned to colleagues and some random junk binned. The drawers are mainly empty and now there is room in them for coffee, cups etc – the stuff that previously sat on my desk. Very satisfying. Thank you, paper cure!

    Now I will get on with photos at home…

  • #232205
    Avatar of Endof20s
    Endof20s
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Prof. Clutter – I’ll give it a shot! here are a few areas I still need to work on:

    1. Recipes – go through your box/book and toss any that you’ll never try or duplicates. I have SO many clipped from magazines. The ones I want to try should get scanned and added to Pinterest.

    2. Cards – do you hoard greeting cards or post cards? Send some out this week (also uses up some stamps!) or donate. I got rid of a huge bag on Freecycle 5 years ago.

    3. Notebooks – if these seem to proliferate around your house try corralling them in one place. Or add a few to your purse/car for notes on the run.

    4. User manuals – these are ridiculous, I have one for how to operate a knife. Toss any you don’t need, the extras in other languages or for anything you’ve sold or donated.

    5. Books – return any library books that are due or you’re done with and while you’re going find 5 that you don’t need to re-read or are too old for reference and donate them as well.

    Personally I’m still handling the huge pile on the kitchen table. It’s much better than it was but my visitor this week had to cancel so I lost all motivation lol. Everything should be going back into one of two file boxes and those go into the office closet. So close to being done!

    Motivation for finishing paper pile: I can empty the foot chest in my living room and begin sanding it for paint! It’s the next big project. But I need the space to empty it out first.

  • #232223
    Avatar of sleepykitten
    sleepykitten
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Great challenges, @EndOf20s. I just ran across (and got rid of) a user manual for a little tabletop fan. They are crazy. Recipes I go through on a semi-regular basis, but it might be worth another look. I have some greeting cards lying around, too, some of which have been around for a while.

    Yesterday I did end up staying late at work – but mostly I was wrapping up a project. I did spend the final 15 minutes dealing with the paper piles and got rid of some things, but I still have a long way to go there.

    Today I’m at home and I am going to finish consolidating my three file boxes (now down to two file boxes) into one.

  • #232234
    Avatar of s
    s
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Well done not keeping extras, Susan!

  • #232248
    Avatar of Northshore
    Northshore
    Participant

    February Paper Cure

    I decided to avoid the file cabinet for a while because I was getting too frustrated. Instead, I’ve been going through the last two boxes of files from the basement. I am filing about a fifth of the records and the rest are in the recycling bag or box of shredding. I have filled a whole box with shredding this month. On to the medical bills and insurance EOB’s.

  • #232287
    Avatar of Astreja
    Astreja
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I finally made some headway on getting rid of the huge envelope of photographs that’s on my desk. I went through the folder where I had put the scans of that batch, and edited them all (mainly cropping, but a little bit of touch-up here and there).

    I have another, larger batch of photos where no one wanted the prints, but we still wanted to scan them so that at least one copy exists for posterity. Once I’ve edited that batch, I’m burning the lot of ‘em to a CD and mailing the prints and the CD to the cousin who wants them.

  • #232304
    Avatar of EllieA
    EllieA
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I’ve been a little silent on this forum for the past week, but I have kept the goals it inspired in me very much in mind. Thank you.

    I’ve been working on my virtual files and in-box mostly. Creating folders and filing, deleting no longer useful files or book-marks, generally paying attention to the clutter built up in my documents. Feels much better, although I did re-instate a couple of cancelled bookmarks/apps that turned out to be needed. Easy to do as all I had to do was re-check them out (permentantly ;) from the internet “library.” A good lesson in itself.

    And for the “real” “stuff” I have been working on photos and am half-way through the task I set myself there. Today: some tax stuff, tomorrow more photos. Onward and “get-out” ward!

  • #232324
    Avatar of Sky
    Sky
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    This past week I corralled all the grandchildren’s construction paper, crayons, coloring books, scissors, markers, etc. in a large handled basket so it can be carried to where they need it.

    Framed a photo of DH’s Dad and Step-Mother (that’s what they gave us for Christmas)and hung it in the hall so it’s off my desk.

    Put my art supplies and paper in a tote. It’s all together and not in a pile.

    I’ve got to get on my taxes!!

  • #232327
    Avatar of Northshore
    Northshore
    Participant

    February Paper Cure

    Health insurance records are now up to date with old bills and EOB’s in the shredding box. I am still hoping to consolidate enough files so that I have an empty drawer but it’s not going to be easy. And I am running out of hanging folders–definitely a sign that I need to toss more.

  • #232331
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Made progress on my bookkeeping yesterday. Good enough to be satisfied with it for the weekend; tonight I plan to take some scans from books I want to trade in … tomorrow.

  • #232338

    February Paper Cure

    I killed the paper monster! I threw away 6 pounds of papers today (plus two professional journals). From 34″ of unsorted papers at the beginning of the month, I have no file boxes or trays of paper left–for the first time in 4+ years! I’ll have to keep plugging away at my active research files, of course, as I’m sure I kept too much paperwork from my last two drafted chapters and have more printed articles than I now need for my work. But I did trim down all my teaching archives…
    Anyway, I declare my invasive paper monster well and truly dead, but I’ll have to remain vigilant, hunting for any emerging larvae before they grow up into monsters.
    Once again, I repeat, I have killed the paper monster!!!

    One, two! One, two! and through and through
    The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
    He left it dead, and with its head
    He went galumphing back.

    “And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
    Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
    O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
    He chortled in his joy.

  • #232339
    Avatar of mdfloyd
    mdfloyd
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Congratulations, Prof. Clutter!!!!

  • #232341
    Avatar of djk
    djk
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Well done, Prof. Clutter! That ’twas brillig indeed.

  • #232345

    February Paper Cure

    Well done Prof C!

    There are still more papers I could lose from my desk, but this week I will be concentrating on new habits to avoid new papers or booklets settling on my desk – recycling straight after meetings/events etc or passing onto a colleague. It may only be one or two sheets per meeting, but if I have 4 a day etc..

  • #232351
    Avatar of Sasjanep
    Sasjanep
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    This weekend I had corralled the last of the piles of paper together. I filed a few financial type things, and made a pile to bring to the office to be shredded.

    I then sorted them into categories and put like with like. So all the recipes to try together, and all the craft/food ideas for Brownies together. I think I am going to put the Brownie ideas into a folder together so I can actually flip through what is there instead of having a pile of loose sheets.

    Recycled some recipes and ideas that I am never going to try.

    With regards to last years accounts, I finally received the replacement statements, so I can make a start on those. That is this week’s job.

    I am going to borrow some of your ideas Endof 20s, they sounds great.

    And well done Prof C!

  • #232352
    Avatar of KeKeD
    KeKeD
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Congratulations Prof.Clutter! Very inspirational.

    I started on our taxes just to find out that I didn’t have everything from DH. (sigh)

  • #232355
    Avatar of sleepykitten
    sleepykitten
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Congrats, @ProfClutter! Very impressive!

  • #232363
    Avatar of OnARoll
    OnARoll
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Another fan in awe of Prof. Clutter’s achievement!

    It gives me hope.

    I started clearing out several R-kive boxes full of stuff this weekend, mostly old writing projects and correspondence. Speed-scanning anything meaningful to me, shredding all the stuff with name/address on it, and throwing all the paper away. But it is a long process. Anyway, 10 fat folders done, many more to go.

    I could put so much stuff that needs to go in a closet, IN the closet, if I can get this old wreckage tossed. Whether I can do that before company descends in March has been worrying me. Well, nothing to do but keep trying and doing.

  • #232366
    Avatar of sleepykitten
    sleepykitten
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    @OnARoll – For sure you can get this done by March! (I say that not knowing the scope of the old wreckage, but it sounds like you are going at a brisk pace – I think you can do it.)

  • #232374

    February Paper Cure

    Thanks, all! :)
    From the challenge issued by Endof20s, I just took care of my often-messy loose paper printouts of recipes, throwing a few away and writing the rest of them (20) into my notebook while I was waiting on hold, etc. I’ve only recently taken care of cards and user manuals and such. And a few uni library books are ready to go out, but I’ll end up bringing a few more back here. And so it goes . . .

  • #232386
    Avatar of sleepykitten
    sleepykitten
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I’m posting here for accountability – I have been in a holding pattern with the paper cure for at least a week. Well, right now I am at home, I have some extra time (or at least, nothing TOO urgent to get done), and I am going to finish consolidating my darned file boxes and dealing with the stacks of miscellaneous paper I’ve got. I need to wrap that up so I can shift focus to sentimental papers and my work office and have some hope of completing the February paper cure to my satisfaction!

    I’m going to work as fast as I can until I am finished or I collapse. I’ll check back in a few hours…

  • #232391
    Avatar of sleepykitten
    sleepykitten
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Argh! Papers are so difficult! I spent 75 minutes really zooming, but I’m out of steam. Every single sheet of paper has SOMETHING that needs to happen before I get rid of it – update a phone number in the electronic records, reply to a letter, etc. I’m doing those things and recycling like mad, but it goes slowly. *sigh* Maybe after I eat some dinner, I’ll be able to tackle it again.

  • #232427
    Avatar of Swede
    Swede
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    You’re all so inspiring! I haven’t posted much but I read almost every day which gives me the itch to tackle some of my papers. Thanks all! :) My Feb progress:

    Doctors receipts: Went through ALL my receipts and could get rid of about 85% of them (warranties expired, got my medications logged in the pharmacy online system, got rid of the doctors receipts from last year etc). I feel super organised!

    Scanned documents: (I’m counting this as paper as it’s most of my important documents) Down from 175 to 110. Good progress! Could prob do more but I declare this good enough.

    Finish my diary pages: Ehm… Nope. No progress here. :)

    Photos weren’t in my goal for the Feb paper cure but I got rid of pretty much 90% of all my copies as they were duplicates/blurry pics. So 350 photos OUT!

  • #232441
    Avatar of s
    s
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Great progress, sk!

  • #232450
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    i went through my almost-15 years old wedding photos (all amateur and mostly terrible) and FINALLY discarded several dozen where it is too dark to see who is who, or wildly overexposed, or repetitive, or random.
    that wedding…cameras were stolen, cameras broke down, batteries went flat.
    i have about two pictures that are any good and both are extremely informal….signing certificates and cutting cake.
    i scanned those.

  • #232453
    Avatar of paisley
    paisley
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Wow, Prof. Clutter, twas brillig indeed! I have made only a small amount of progress on the paper front this month. The gardening, that’s another story, but I really should be doing this, too.

  • #232469

    February Paper Cure

    thanks, paisley.
    My situation is inverse of yours–I got the paper under control, but haven’t managed to step outside and trim any plants yet! Plants and Paper were my Feb goals–maybe that was twice as much as I could handle. after all, February is a short month. :)

  • #232496

    February Paper Cure

    Dropped off some other loose papers to the appropriate persons & places on campus. I don’t have my office space this year (because I’m not teaching and we have library/office renovations here), so I don’t go to campus as frequently as usual. When I do go, I try to have my bag full of books and papers to drop off. :)

  • #232504
    Avatar of Sky
    Sky
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I’m up to my eyeballs in tax papers. I managed to recycle and shred some papers I no longer need but for the next few days it’s all taxes. YUCK!!

  • #232533
    Avatar of Katha
    Katha
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    My desk “inbox” is overflowing with some newer unprocessed correspondence and stacks of papers already sorted by topic, but awaiting proper filing (or tossing, if they do not merit the former).
    It is my goal to have no such floating unprocessed paper among the things I will be moving in mid-March, so tonight, I am going to tackle the first bunch of all this – and keep a log besides of entities I will need to inform about my address change.

  • #232561
    Avatar of Northshore
    Northshore
    Participant

    February Paper Cure

    I went through another file drawer and discarded another inch or so of paper. It’s not enough but I think I’m going to have to be satisfied with my progress so far. I’m identifying candidates for future culling but for now, I think I need this stuff. I also discarded all but a few references for 2011 tax prep. and will get rid of the rest in April. It’s so much quicker to refer to paper when I’m in the middle of a return that I’m keeping this for the couple 2011 returns I’ll do.
    I recycled a half bag of paper after yesterday’s work.

  • #232670

    February Paper Cure

    I’ve been avoiding paper — my excuse is that it’s been so nice outside that the gardening takes precedence. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    This morning I went through DH’s stack of “current” mail that he keeps in the dining room. Found a huge stack of MIL’s stuff that he’s been retaining, although I’m supposed to be keeping her files. So i filed it. Threw out a lot of junk, put the old magazines into the magazine bin and got a foot-high stack down to less than an inch.

    This afternoon I think I’ll shred for a while and go through my own wicker bin of dysfunctional papers and make a dent in it. Really would like to have that sorted by the end of the month.

  • #232674
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Anticipating a slow day at work, I brought in my hoard of old appointment books (8 years’ worth) to type up the “highlights” logs I’ve decided to add to my digital scrapbooks. Should have those done by the end of the day, and into the company shredder.

    @susan – I forgot to renew a magazine subscription last year and discovered I didn’t miss it. I am down to three now, counting Nature Conservancy. Back in the day, I was getting eight or nine … no wonder I “had no time” for certain projects!

  • #232735

    February Paper Cure

    wow, chacha–8 years’ trek down memory lane in one workday. Good for you making such good use of your downtime.

  • #232809

    February Paper Cure

    I intended to mail some large envelopes / small parcels after work today, but the local post office just cancelled Saturday hours. too bad. Anyway, that paperish clutter is now in the trunk of the car, along with my entire stash of mismatched old-rate leftover stamps, so I should finish that off first thing Monday. I will still have a pretty big pile of “Forever” stamps that I got a while back on Craigslist from someone who was downsizing–good deal. :)

    Not exactly paper, but I did submit some of the writing I needed to for this busy work season. Still have more of that plus emails and conference apps to do tomorrow. Then, I might be able to toss a few more articles–we’ll see. Uncluttering progress will be slower and less dramatic now.

  • #232854
    Avatar of KeKeD
    KeKeD
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Our taxes done :) Now to figure out FIL’s :{

  • #232895

    February Paper Cure

    Just carried out another full wastebasket load of FYI-ish paper I had to read/skim today. Other than that, not much to report.

  • #232909
    Avatar of Northshore
    Northshore
    Participant

    February Paper Cure

    Reviewed and cleaned out another couple folders, making slow progress in the file cabinet.
    @Prof, I have unused sheets of commemorative stamps that I’m gradually using up. It’s kind of fun picking out the right stamps for different people and I think of it as one of DH’s legacies–his way of saying hello to my correspondents. Of course, it would have been a lot better if he had used the stamps when they were new. I have my own stash of small denomination stamps to make up the right postage.

  • #232913

    February Paper Cure

    DF is here for two weeks and is the best antidepressant on this planet, so this morning I have been tackling The Paper. Trying hard to sneak in a late win before the end of February!

    Medical paperwork is my problem. How much do I keep/scan? I have copay and insurance bills for the past 3 or 4 years. My insurance company has copies of all of this. All my billing is up to date and I’m not in the middle of any surgeries at the moment.

    Any suggestions on what to keep? I should take a medical history with me when I relocate out of state this summer, but I wonder if 3 inches of bills and copay receipts are necessary even as a scan.

  • #232927
    Avatar of Swede
    Swede
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    @lifekeepshappening – Maybe call your insurance company and ask? I did that for my pharmacy and turns out I didn’t need to keep a thing, everything was stored electronically. :)

  • #232928
    Avatar of EllieA
    EllieA
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Completed organizing a section of paper work for taxes and did the spread sheet for that line – one of my goals done. Must complete photo project and emergency/important number file revamp/update but those are doable in 3 days, since I have a pretty open week.

    The snarky and hard thing facing me from my list is learning to use the scanner. I’ll call up the paper work on-line now and tackle that this afternoon.

  • #232932
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    @lkh, I needed to make up a medical history when we were applying for new coverage. A simple handwritten (or typed) log is sufficient for anything that is complete and/or not in dispute.

    The “backup” documentation is only of use if you are claiming medical expenses as an income-tax deduction.

    My appointment books: I only got three years’ worth done Friday, but plan to complete those by the end of this week. Will also be shredding the printouts I made of transactions when making credit-card payments last year, settling for the much tidier solution of a downloaded annual summary. That will get my Paper Monster pretty well tamed (aside from the scrapbooks. Oy).

  • #232970
    Avatar of Northshore
    Northshore
    Participant

    February Paper Cure

    filed a pile of papers that I had tossed on top of the file cabinet. Took me ten minutes. They’d been sitting there for two months.

  • #232993
    Avatar of EllieA
    EllieA
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Well, I declare myself defeated by the scanner on my printer. I worked on it. My DH worked even harder and with more expertise on it and we couldn’t get it to connect up to itself, much less to my computer. So I’ll let it go. Scanning can be done another month or never…. all I thought to do with it were paper recipes really. I don’t have that much other paper to worry over, with automated payments that can slide right into the right virtual folder anyway.

    Only photos and emergency file/numbers left for today and tomorrow, but as I am up super early, no problem.

  • #232994
    Avatar of sleepykitten
    sleepykitten
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    @chacha – That’s good to know! I think everything claim my insurance company processes has a unique number, and I assume it is those numbers that are the most critical for them to reference your info later.

    @Northshore – Way to go!!! That is exactly the kind of accomplishment I like to hear – because those stagnant tasks and stagnant clutter are my downfall and I need the encouragement (see the Do It Now discussion on the “why does uncluttering take so long” thread).

  • #233000

    February Paper Cure

    Thanks Swede and Chacha1. I have shredded a good amount of billing as my insurance company has it all and everything is up to date and paid.

    I need to assemble a medical history. It’s medical insurance that is stopping us from marrying as I will lose my Tricare coverage (I’m a military former spouse) upon marriage.

  • #233015
    Avatar of chacha1
    chacha1
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    lkh, there are simply no words sufficient to describe the inhumanity of the U.S. health insurance system.

  • #233018
    Avatar of Northshore
    Northshore
    Participant

    February Paper Cure

    @sk, thanks for the encouragement. If I were to PEEP and Do It Now, my house and yard would look so much better. I am trying to form some new habits to get rid of more paper clutter. Accountability to this forum helps and, of course, I get all my best ideas from other members.
    Today’s small success was cleaning out the bank records from DH’s accounts. I tossed the monthly savings statements.
    @lkh, you’ve inspired me–I don’t need those insurance forms; I need to create a medical history. And I second chacha’s assessment of our health insurance. Here in Wisconsin, once a progressive state, our governor has decided not to expand Medicaid to additional working poor. It’s a disgrace.

  • #233028

    February Paper Cure

    @ Northshore – your governor must be friends with our Oklahoma governor, same thing happened here. Our state health statistics are pitiful.

    Well done with tossing the statements. Glad that my quandary re the medical billing has been useful.

  • #233037
    Avatar of Northshore
    Northshore
    Participant

    February Paper Cure

    I filed the remaining bank statements in my archive file box and discovered another cache of DH’s old bank records. Not sure why I stashed them away but they are in the shredder box now. But that’s enough for one day–too many memories.

  • #233185
    Avatar of klutzgrrl
    klutzgrrl
    Participant

    February Paper Cure

    oh boy. I’m reading this at my desk with piles of paper all around me. Now to pick up that first one and find it a home… urgh how I loathe, loathe, loathe paperwork. With an utter passion.

  • #233231
    Avatar of Katha
    Katha
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I have been progressing with packing and decluttering for my move, but procrastinating on the paper on my desk. Got to change that tonight!

  • #233276
    Avatar of Netleigh
    Netleigh
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    I managed to sift the family history paperwork enough to plan what I needed to ask at the genealogy fair. Now I need to scan the older documents to add to the research database and input some of the research notes I had done on paper. Then I can dispose of some of the paper, I will be keeping the original documents but I will have easy copies linked into the database for viewing if I need to.

    This paper challenge could develop into a longer task, I had hoped to do more in February, but a fortnight with a bad cold and a sore arm from a skiing fall did affect my progress.

  • #233278
    Avatar of Katha
    Katha
    Member

    February Paper Cure

    Spent 20 min on my paper – not nearly enough, but there were other things to do also.

  • #233324

    February Paper Cure

    I’m feeling like Feb went way too fast, and I didn’t get enough written. But as I go to bed now, my desk surfaces are clear, and have been so every night for a while. It still feels like a treat.

    I know where my files are and the articles for my current research, and drafts of other chapters and teaching portfolio stuff, and everything else is archived in folders in the cabinet. I’ve uncluttered my mind enough that I can take out one folder, concentrate on the work in that and not have to worry about what other deadlines I’m missing or where the articles I dug up last week or the overdue bills might be lurking.

    Maybe in a few months, I’ll go through each folder again and see how much more I can purge, but for now I’ll celebrate the transformation that has happened here. I joined this site at the end of November feeling totally swamped. I cleared out both my office spaces on campus, changed bookshelves, had a fatigue symptoms flareup, recovered, celebrated the holidays, deep cleaned & decluttered in the home cure, kept up with ATAD, and did the paper cure. I really have reclaimed my life and my space now. I hope March is a productive month in this space.

    Thanks to all who participated here and for all the encouragement going ’round. It’s been good to follow your progress, too. (sorry, this is a rather self-centered post.)

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