Organizing, not decluttering paper - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 08-24-2010, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I have gone through and decluttered my papers over and over, thrown away at least ten 18 gal rubbermaid bins over the past several years, but there are some things that I cannot let go off. I've got our "files" down to a single box: all the business stuff like copies of insurance policies, etc. That's not the problem. But, I have a lot of resources that are photocopies of articles from decades ago that are only archived in college libraries, various leaflets and booklets that have info that really aren't available anywhere else, and print outs from web pages that no longer exist. These are things that I know I have and refer to, but I would actually use them a lot more often if they were organized!

Scanning is not an option for me. We have one laptop that DH often takes with him to work somewhere else and we are actually thinking of not replacing it when it breaks and just using library computers. That combined with the fact that I can't read as well on screen as on paper means that the old fashioned paper way really is the best way for me.

The stuff I have is mostly educational that I either use now as reference or plan to use when I homeschool. But, how to organize it? I've heard of people making binders by topic. I have to say, that making a homemaking binder was very helpful for me: but it serves a different purpose than reference material. Would another file crate or two be better? Right now they are in a couple of card board file boxes that are falling apart.

How do you organize paper? What resources either online or in-print have helped you get systems developed?
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#2 of 6 Old 08-24-2010, 05:24 PM
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given the parameters you just described, if I were organizing that, I would want to create "books" that could go on a bookshelf. I'd group the papers in a way that made sense to me, such as by topic (gardening, inspiration, family, crafty) and then subtopic if necessary (perhaps perennials, veggies, composting; photos, stories; knitting, sewing, painting). now, my budget is zero so that's as far as I'd get but when I had the funds first I'd get archive-quality sleeves (so the pages don't yellow, most places with scrapbook supplies will have these) to fit a 3-ring binder and sort my items into those. then, as more funds came along, I'd get the binders, in a style I really liked the look of, with a spot for labeling on the spine (and a size I knew would fit my shelves!). depending on the material I might also get some tabbed pages to create dividers in the binders. I might even go so far as to create a table of contents! yeah right
this way, it's all out where you can see it and get to it easily. hth!

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#3 of 6 Old 08-24-2010, 06:52 PM
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for these sorts of items, I use binders with folders that have holes punched in them. each folder holds as many articles as i can stuff in there, and each folder is labeled, then each notebook is labelled.

my binders, which are part of my "books" in storage in the US, usually have to do with yoga. I prefer to go by topic such as "Asana, Jnana, Bhakti, Prana" and so on. Inside, I'll have folders such as "hips, spine, feet, organ systems," or "vedanta, tantra, sikhism," etc. inside there, i keep articles by date.

Then, the binders were kept on their respective shelf, near the yoga books that I have and also use as a reference.
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#4 of 6 Old 08-25-2010, 07:25 AM
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I would recommend manila folders labeled A to Z.
Just throw one thing in one manila folder.
If certain things could go together, put them together.
Just make sure to organize them by alphabet.
Always keep a big supply of new folders (100 or so) so you can always file such things.

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#5 of 6 Old 08-25-2010, 03:47 PM
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We have a very large filing cabinet where the drawers and wide rather than deep. We have hanging files which then have manila folders in them.

It ws quite expensive but worth its weight in gold (and it's very heavy, LOL).

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#6 of 6 Old 08-26-2010, 04:46 PM
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We don't have the space in our small house for a filing cabinet - I have three plastic file boxes like this one, and I file all my papers into manila file folders, label them and shove them into the hanging folders in the box.

I don't bother organizing alphabetically, but that's a great idea, larablue! Mostly I organize by the type of thing that's in the folder -- i.e., all the folders of household bills are grouped together, all my school files are grouped together, etc. The "reference-only" boxes (articles and stuff) are stored in the basement; the box where I file important bills and such is stored right inside the front closet so it's easy to get my hands on it when I need to find or store a piece of paper.

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