Get Organized Chat Transcript: February 24, 2004

iVillager cl-piquant1: How often do you weed your paper garden (files)?

Regina Leeds: I do that about every 18 months or so. If your files are stores of active information, they will in a sense "talk to you." I was looking at mine for instance and I realized it was time to shift what I had into different categories and then to add a new one. I got the message because I was using the files. The big purge is a planned activity.

iVillager c2barnett: I was just wondering if anyone has a suggestion for organizing life and dealing with rotating 12 hour shifts?

Regina Leeds: I think the key may be planning each week as a separate entity -- and by that I mean you will have to have a set list of things you need to accomplish like laundry, grocery shopping etc. then you will have to schedule those things. And -- I hope -- you can give some of those tasks to your DH and son, so that some things like the dishes and the trash are always done.

iVillager Rosanne709: I have been having problems with piles of papers that accumulate in the kitchen from the mail, it seems after a few days I have piles that end up in my office. After a few weeks I have a great deal of piles in my office. Any suggestions. I do throw out whatever mail I don't need.

Regina Leeds: Rosanne, the fact that you toss what you don't need from the mail is great. That's the first and in many ways the hardest step. Now you need to set up files for the information you do want to keep. This is going to be your system. But in order for it to work you will have to put everything in its place, thus no more piles. Piles are stacks of unmade decisions. Do you have your file system in place?

iVillager Rosanne709: I have a file system in place, but I think it is too detailed. There are lots of files.

Regina Leeds: You are right -- too many hanging folders. You need to separate your categories and then try some box bottom folders so that the categories can stay together. There are two things that take up too much room - plastic garment bags from the cleaners and too many file folders in a row! Streamline line your system and it will be easy to use.

I just helped a lady who had two wicker file boxes under stacks of hobby supplies. It was a pain in the neck to get to the files so she stacked everything on the kitchen counter. We made the file boxes accessible ans the file folders easier to use and voila! She had a new lease on life and a clean counter.

iVillager Rosanne709: I have a great deal of streamlining to do. I have ten file drawers.

Regina Leeds: You need to weed out and make archival file boxes. Go through them and see what you can toss. Ten file drawers is enormous for a home office. Now you have a project.

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