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1st October
written by LS Girl

It’s Q4.  Let’s purge and get organized in that office, and let’s get a fresh start in 2014.  Here are some tips to: Work Better

This is a great activity to schedule for the week in between Christmas and New Year’s Eve; I’ve found this to be a slow time in most businesses.  However, if yours is not one of them, choose the week that is, and add the following entry to your calendar: 

Enter:  Purge and Get Organized

Does this event repeat?  YES  

How often?  Every Year

Got that squared away?  Ok, here we go…


In my place of work, our trashcans are emptied once a week.  In my home office, the same holds true.  The sanitation department arrives every Thursday morning to haul away the trash, and every other Thursday is recycling week.  This service is pretty stable and reliable. 

Because of this, I’ve taken to throwing things away that I know I won’t need after a week’s time.  An example:  A receipt with a tracking number on it.  I will throw this away knowing it will sit in that trash can until Wednesday night, and with the package scheduled to arrive next day, I can confirm receipt and leave my little clutter-bug in the garbage pail.  I already emailed the tracking number to the client, so I can copy and paste it into the shipper’s website for the status.  I treat my physical waste bucket exactly as I treat my e-trash.  I err on the side of “trash and retrieve” as opposed to “keep just in case”.  Another office maintenance tool I use is the “one year” box. At the end of each year, I go through all my files and belongings, and I put items I don’t think I’ll ever need into a box.  I write the date on the outside of the box and place it in storage for one year.  If I haven’t dug in to retrieve anything after the year, I trash it.  Here are the steps I use to stay organized, they should work for you, too:


Large trash bags / recycle bins

Two empty file boxes



Papers, books, magazines, torn out articles, post card advertisements, printed emails, post it notes, newsletters, notebook paper, and business cards.  Does this sound like all the crap that clutters up your office?  Here is how I decide what to do with it:

I make four piles:

Trash (actual useless info)

Trash and hold (information that you are 99% certain you will never need, but want to store for one year)

Pass along (information you will never use, but think it’s worth a shot giving it to someone else who might use it)

Keep (things you need… after you’ve given yourself tough love)

Then, I review every piece of paper, and decide which pile it goes into.  Here is where the courage comes in:  I’m honest with myself.  Am I ever going to make this “office fiesta potluck” dish?  Am I ever going to paint that wall with a mural?  Am I ever going to order 50 copies of this book for the entire staff, or can I just share this one copy I have? Does this guy still work at this company?  Did I already do everything outlined in this email, if not – do I want to?


Each item is reviewed one time and goes into a pile.  Once you are finished and have reviewed EVERY ITEM:

Trash:  Throw this pile away / recycle

Trash and hold:  Organize, and put in one or two file boxes, put today’s date on the box, store for one year. (At the end of the year, throw the contents away, and reuse the boxes for the current year’s trash and hold, repeat until the boxes fall apart, then get new ones and recycle the old)

Pass along:  Physically get up, and bring each item to its new owner.

Keep:  Put back in to respective storage drawers, magazine holders, and vertical files, etc.

By implementing “Stay on Top of It” on a daily basis, and erring on the side of “trash it”, you will find that each year this task becomes easier.  Additionally, you will add a new first step, which will be to throw away the previous year’s “one year box”.  This will always be where you begin. 

how to purge and organize

Work Better

Congratulations! You just graduated from the class of Purge and Get Organized –  Let’s see those piles!



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