Don’t organize what doesn’t need to be organized


True confessions: I love my label maker. It turns my filing cabinet and reference notebooks into things of beauty: neat, orderly, easily scannable to find what I need.


I have learned to not turn so quickly toward the siren song of the label maker, begging me to make a crisp new folder for that one lonely scrap of paper that just crossed my desk. I have learned to embrace the controlled chaos of more general folders for those things that I am unlikely to ever have to look at again, but need to keep just in case.

Yes, that’s right: I, hoarder of pretty office supplies, who as a child spent hours of free time coming up with grand organizing schemes, have gone to the Dark Side. I no longer make folders each year for each type of business expense and dutifully file receipts in them (natch, making a copy of a receipt that covers two different kinds of expense and filing each one in the appropriate folder). I don’t have an income folder for each client into which I can drop the little stubs that come with each check.

Pax Studio LLC has a scant smattering of folders in the front of the file drawer to gather paper: general, banking2016 income, and 2016 expenses. That’s it.

I have to go into those folders so rarely that the time spent creating and organizing folders the way I used to and the time spent sorting and filing into those categories is completely wasted. On the off chance that I need to access something in those folders, it’s simple to flip through and find what I need — especially since I’m in the habit of dropping the most recent thing into the back of the folder, so it all stays relatively in chronological order.

Don’t waste time organizing what doesn’t need to be organized. 

I’ll write another time about my slow shift to electronic record keeping.

I’d love to know:

  • Are you a recovering over-organizer?
  • Do you avoid the office supply aisles at Target because you have a life and wandering down there means you’ll lose an hour of it to petting the pretty pens and fondling the notebooks?
  • How do you deal with your paper detritus?

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