Gone From the Office

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Tonight I decided to get rid of more stuff I can do without.  My office is still the area where there is significant excess stuff.

First, I tossed a pile of ‘scrap’ paper which I use for writing shopping lists, menu plans and so on.  I realised that there was no way it would ever be used up so into the recycling it went.  I still have a small pile of used A4 paper for using in the printer as well as 6 notepads.  They are more user-friendly than what I recycled which included blank pages from diaries back as far as 2006.

Next I did a quick sweep through the filing cabinet.  It is far from finished but I did cull a lot of stuff.  2 books to the op shop bag, then the cards, piles of old catalogues, fliers and brochures (mostly gardening) from 5 – 10 years ago went into the recycling.  I am not sure how they managed to escape previous culling sessions but it just goes to prove that just because you have decluttered an area once that it is done for all time.  Things tend to creep back in as well as our needs and interests constantly evolving.

2 plastic sleeves have gone back into the stash of sleeves, 1 bulldog clip and 2 Post-it notepads will go to work (I use them there but not at home).

I intend to move something out of my home everyday this week.

Till next time.

Piles of Paper

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This photo of the study desk which I posted yesterday, is the superficial face of what is lurking deeper.

2011-08-24 02‘Study’ is probably a bit of a misnomer for this room as neither of us are studying anything and haven’t done so for many years.  I should really call it the office as it is the office from which we jointly run the business of our lives and our home.

The business of our income and expenditure includes bank statements, tax returns, superannuation information, rates, utilities and various insurance policies.  We have a filing cabinet in here.

2011-08-25 02Like this…..

2011-08-25 03I have found that simply filing everything is not enough.  We need to regularly check and cull what we keep.  There is no benefit in keeping bank statements from 20 years ago unless you are planning a museum.  My theory is that since tax returns need to be kept for 5 years, it is reasonable to align other financial paperwork by the same criteria.

Each year when the tax is finalised and we receive the paperwork from the accountant, I remove the oldest year and rename the file for the current year so that we can collect any relevant  information in one place.

I sorted through the bank statements and found that they dated back to 2004 which means that I had not cleared any out for at least a couple of years.  This has now been rectified and I have a pile ready for shredding.  I will add bank statements to the list of things for an annual cull at the end of the financial year.

2011-08-25 04I keep folders of instructions, receipts and warranties for all of our appliances and equipment.  I check these from time to time and remove the details for anything we no longer own.

Keeping the paperwork under control seems to require constant vigilance, otherwise it can very easily get out of control.  It is a fine line between hoarding everything and retaining what is required by law, such as tax returns.

What documents do you keep and why?