Things Not To Do: Home Organizing Edition

Don’t start a To Be Filed pile.

I mean, you can make such a pile temporarily, when you’re opening the mail and paying bills and such, and then get up and file everything in that pile as soon as you’re done–that’s a fine strategy.  What you must avoid is making a pile of things you are going to file away in their proper places Someday when you Have Time.  That day may not come until the pile is very big, and then it will look so daunting that you will do everything in your power to avoid Having Time to sort and file all those boring papers.  Meanwhile, the pile will take up space and serve as a constant reminder of how busy you are now and how stupid you were then.

I started a To Be Filed pile when I was pregnant and exhausted.  My child is now six years old, and I still have not cleared out that pile!  I succeeded in stopping myself from adding to the pile quite some time ago, and several times I have worked on it for a while and filed some of it (much of it can now be filed in the recycling bin, since it is outdated), but I have never yet reached the bottom.

Don’t do this.  File those papers now, or just recycle them.  Your future self will thank you.

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6 thoughts on “Things Not To Do: Home Organizing Edition

  1. I think my husband needs this advice 🙂 He is a piler, and every once in a while the pile will spread out past his desk to the surrounding area in the living room and I will insist he clean it up. The task is so overwhelming to him that he needs me to sit with him to help him make decisions about everything (even though he ends up having no problem making the decisions himself). Fortunately our apartment is very organized so there is a place for everything, which speeds up the process.

    I don’t file things immediately, but I manage to do it every week or so. This keeps the pile on top of the file boxes from getting too overwhelming. I prefer to file multiple things at once anyway, since we have two file boxes that sit on top of each other and the one I need is inevitably on the bottom. This way I can take down the top box and then sit there and file into both. But I can definitely see how, if you didn’t regularly get to filing the pile, it would be better to force yourself not to have one at all.

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  4. Wow! Yes, truer words have never been spoken. I think I have some To Be Filed piles now in boxes in the garage from my first pregnancy (8 years ago) and move (5 years ago). Yikes.

    One thing I do now (that has become a pretty good strategy) is putting all the kids’ papers in a clear, plastic envelope (large) for the week. I then discreetly pull all of those papers to the recycling bin once a week. This way, if the kids say, “Mom! Did you see my math worksheet?” I can say, “Yes, of course! It’s right here.” I find the clear envelope helps me remember that I need to clear it. I only keep kids’ papers that have hand/foot prints or are extreme works of creation—not everyday worksheets.

    Paper! Oh my goodness, what a nemesis.

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