We’re usually so busy we don’t want to take time to go through old paper files to clear out what’s no longer needed. I’m with you on that one! But with Covid-19 and spending more time at home, maybe this is the time to tackle that project. That’s what I’m doing.
If you have weekly recycling pickup, take advantage of it. Put the papers in your recycling bin, in boxes labeled Recycle, or in paper bags. Staples can be left on the papers, but remove any paper clips, binder clips, and rubber bands.
Hopefully 2021 will have some community shredding events. I like keeping an economy storage box or a Banker’s Box® handy where I can toss all my papers to be shredded. What I like about these boxes is I can stack them, with the lids on, until the next shredding event. At community shredding events, they’ll take the boxes from your car, dump them in their giant bin to be shredded in their truck, and put the empty boxes back in your car for you to reuse.
Why purge your paper files? Here are five reasons:
1. You don’t have room in your file folders for new papers, so they’re accumulating on multiple horizontal surfaces, including the floor, and you can’t find anything.
2. Your activities and interests (either work or personal, or both) have changed and you don’t need a lot of those old papers.
3. You’ll be embarrassed if someone else has to go through all your papers.
4. You’ll find money (I found three $25 gift cards! For clients, I’ve found checks for thousands of dollars.) and interesting things—I enjoyed reading my old Myers-Briggs and Predictive Index assessments.
5. You will feel great after doing this. And don’t we all need something to feel good about?
What to do First?
It depends on your situation. Do you have file cabinets filled with old files? Do you have boxes of papers with a mishmash in each? Do you have sorted stacks of paper on horizontal surfaces? All of these?
Click here for some tips on tackling your paper purge project.
Trust me—you will feel so much better when you get that paper out of your office or home. After working at paper purging myself, I had three boxes of shredding and four bags of recycling to go out. Such a good feeling to get rid of things!
© 2021 Susan Kousek