Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Project Simplify - Paper Clutter (Hot Spot #2)

For five weeks, Project Simplify is having weekly challenges that focus on de-cluttering and simplifying one's home.  Last week, Hot Spot #1 was the wardrobe/closet.  Having completed that challenge, I've been enjoying the past week of having a neatly organized wardrobe and closet.  It's so much more peaceful (and less stressful) each time I open the closet door and pick an item I need to wear.

This week, Hot Spot #2 focused on paper clutter.  As the website said, "Whether it’s your kitchen island, your desk or home office, the junk drawer, or even your kids’ crafting station, we are going to take care of that paper that seems to grow on its own."

This is an on-going challenge because I homeschool as well as have a small business (Harvest Moon by Hand), so paper clutter can easily pile up before I know it. 

Since it would be too overwhelming to try to  tackle all the paper in one week given other responsibilities and medical/educational appointments this week above homeschooling and Harvest Moon by Hand, I chose to focus only on the papers that I had not filed in my home office (which seems to be the "dumping ground" for papers that need to be looked at, taken action on, or filed). 

Going through my daughters' past artwork, school work, and crafting supplies will be addressed at another time.

So, the first step was to gather all the loose papers that were sitting in my office that needed to be filed.  I brought these to the family room so I had more space to spread everything out and organize it:

Paper Clutter: Before

Next, I labeled several grocery bags with different categories:  recycle, shred, taxes, recipes, and patterns.  The website also recommended having a "take action" box.  Instead, I used the piano bench to put items that needed immediate action.  Any item placed on the bench went to my desk so I could do what needed to be done with it.

I also had a pencil and some file folders next to me so I could create a folder for anything that needed to be filed.

So, I started with one pile and - sheet by sheet - placed it in the appropriate bag or file.

In Progress:  Bags with paper to be shredded or recycled
in front of paper that need to be put in files.

By the time I was done, I had a full bag of paper to be recycled and about three-quarters of a bag of items that needed shredding. All my receipts and paperwork for taxes is together now, so I can begin working on taxes this weekend.

In Progress: papers to be filed and
a bag filled papers and receipts for taxes.

I have quite a few patterns and recipes that I'm going to organize when I go to the homeschool conference next month. I'll have a lot of quiet time in the evenings and early morning so I can spend some time getting that organized in a more accessible and easy-to-use manner.

Once I was done, I put all the papers and file folders into my filing system.  I have 11 file drawers in my office (they hold homeschooling resources; personal/family information and records; business records; and taxes). 

After:  Everything that needed to be filed is now filed!

In the process of filing, I pulled some folders that I could use this week for homeschooling.  In some cases, the girls will use the items that are in the files to incorporate in their nature journals, geography books, or to do and discard (e.g., math worksheets). 
This was a multi-hour project, and one that I had a hard time staying focused on doing since it isn't my favorite activity (though I am always so happy with the results of having everything in its place and organized).  I took frequent breaks to look at an eagle that was sitting on a tree by the driveway. 

Eagle in the tree by the end of the driveway.

It sat there for four hours, and then flew off.  The eagle provided the necessary distraction and motivation to keep going through this process. 

The eagle didn't move much during the four hours
it sat on the branch.  However, it did lift its talon once.

1 comment:

Cheri said...

Quite the accomplishment to have all that done. Congratulations! And I think if there was an eagle on my tree, I'd have spent the entire four hours snapping pics and no filing would have been done!