Unstuffing the files, part 1

April 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

This sorter with a slot for each day of the month (and a drawer with a section for pens and space for stamps or envelopes or whatever) seemed like a good idea at the time. We bought it for tracking bills and other date-sensitive mail… and as long as we filed the mail when it came in and checked the slots regularly, it worked just fine. And when we didn’t (which was frequently the case), it really wasn’t any help at all.

These days, most of our bills arrive via email, and the majority go directly to our credit union‘s online bill payment system. I check a couple of times a month to be sure that the bills have arrived and the payments are going out as they should, and that’s it! We haven’t yet reached my goal of a paperless home office, but we’re getting closer.

Since we no longer use this nice organizer, it’s leaving our house. I hope someone else may find it useful.

While we’ve succeeded in reducing the amount of the paper coming into the house, we still have to deal with the reams of paper that we already have… more than enough to fill the pair of 2-drawer filing cabinets that we have.  I’ve spent hours this year sorting through a decade of files, figuring out what to keep and what to toss. Much of what we’re tossing has enough personal information on it that I don’t want to get rid of it without shredding it. Our small shredder has been getting a workout, but shredding papers is boring, noisy work. Happily, our credit union had their semi-annual Shred Day today. At several of their branches, they had shredding trucks that would take two file boxes or a garbage bag of papers and shred them for free! (Have I mentioned that I love our credit union?) This morning, I took a 10″x12″x15″ box stuffed with sensitive documents to one of the branches, where it took just seconds for the young guy who’d been soaking up rays by the shredding truck to take my box, dump all that paper into the shredder, and hand me the empty box. Success!

That’s 15 linear inches of papers, plus the bill organizer, making 16 “items” unstuffed today.

Coming soon: getting rid of paper copies of documents we need or want to keep.


031: Unstuffing the office, part 1

January 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

Let me introduce you to our home office, AKA storage room #2. Over the past, oh, who knows how long, we’ve let the clutter build up to the point that, as of last Saturday morning, there were no clear horizontal surfaces to be seen (other than some parts of the floor). It’s not much of an office if there’s no useable work space in it.

SO, I cajoled Paul into helping me do some unstuffing. Here’s what we cleared out of the office this weekend:

  • 50 dead pens (from the office that closed almost 6 years ago)
  • 20 colored pencils (Does anyone want some slightly used red, blue and green pencils? Otherwise, I’ll take them to my office.)
  • 50 hanging file folders (we still have at least that many in our three file cabinets)
  • 2 large bags of paper to be recycled
  • 1 bankers box of papers to be shredded
  • 3 cardboard boxes
  • 4-pack of cardboard magazine holders
  • pack of print-your-own business cards
  • keyboard tray
  • plastic paper organizer (ha! as if those work!)
  • 3 three-ring binders
  • Dayrunner organizer
  • 2 small notebooks

We also started a box of e-waste for recycling, but I’m not going to count what’s in that until it’s full.

At the end of the weekend, here’s how our office looked:

Look! There are a few bits of clear horizontal surface (and not just on the floor). There’s still a lot to be done, but at least someone can use one of the desks if they’re so inclined.

And the office is lighter by 136 items.

014: Unstuffing the dining room

January 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Buried under all that stuff is a dining room, a room in which we have, in the past, shared some wonderful meals… but not recently. I’m ready for that to change, so today I took a first pass at clearing out the space.

Some of the stuff cluttering up this room was canning equipment and supplies that just needed to be moved to their proper places in the kitchen or the basement. However, much of the stuff was ripe for unstuffing.

On their way to someone else’s house (51):

  • 5 vases
  • 2 mugs
  • 2 coasters
  • 2 trivets
  • 5 Chinese soup spoons
  • 5 Chinese condiment dishes
  • 23 small toys and decorative objects
  • bathroom scales
  • picture frame
  • candleholder
  • small food processor
  • folding travel clock
  • bicycle seat
  • bicycle tire pump

Relocating to my office (26):

  • 25(!) red pencils of various lengths (like the butter paper, spoils of the office that closed)
  • large roll of drawings from my last project

Recycling (22):

  • 16 road maps (including the AAA Texas and Southwestern United States maps that Paul and I used to drive from Houston to the Bay Area when I moved there in 1996)
  • 2 boxes of business cards from a previous workplace
  • 1 grocery bag full of deflated plastic air cushion packing material
  • 3 large cardboard boxes, one filled with packing paper

Trash (16):

  • 15 dead pens
  • 1 piece of molded plastic that neither of us could identify

That’s 115 items leaving our dining room today. (And that’s really not all. I’m saving some for tomorrow.)

009: Butter paper

January 9, 2012 § 2 Comments

When I was young, my architect father often worked at home in the evening. He always had a roll or two of translucent yellow paper and soft pencils for sketching. The yellow rolls were known as butter paper. In those pre-CAD days, it was ubiquitous. When I was thinking of going to architecture school, I bought myself some soft pencils and a roll of butter paper… the first of many that I’ve used over the years.

When I moved west, I found that the butter-colored rolls of tracing paper were missing from the art store shelves. Instead there was buff paper, or white. Of course, those rolls went by different names: the boring, like “trace”, and the scatalogical, like “bumwad”. I missed the bright golden color, but I figured that it must be a regional thing. However, when I mentioned to one office manager that I liked yellow tracing paper, she found it online (we were no longer pre-CAD by then) and ordered some for me.

Eventually, that office closed its doors, and a few of us divided the spoils that weren’t worth either selling or shipping to the firm’s main office.  I took home the last of the butter paper, plus a couple of rolls of buff paper. (SO much stuff I brought home from that office; I’m sure I’ll be getting rid of more of it this year!) Six years later, I’ve used very little of the butter paper. When I draw at home, I’m either on my computer, or redlining drawings for someone else. I do, however, use tracing paper at my office. So tonight, when I went back to the office after dinner, I took these five rolls with me. The buff paper went into the general office stash, but the butter paper is staying at my desk. It’s still mine, but it’s out of the house, so that counts, yes?

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