I helped to purge an old file cabinet this week. It's such a daunting task to look at those piles and piles of papers and think that you need to go through them. But, in reality, once you start, it isn't so bad.
Typically, things in a file cabinet are organized to some extent. Maybe they are old but they are probably grouped together.
Begin by asking the person who prepares your taxes how many years of back financial documents do you need to keep. Then you'll know what years to pull out for shredding.
For work projects, meet with your boss or team and determine how long to keep things.
Remember that keeping things doesn't mean they have to be kept in the room with you! Box and label old things for storage in a closet or other area so the file cabinet becomes useful again.
Pull old things to discard first- just leave the rest in the drawer. Next pull old things to store, placing them in boxes. Finally, check the things you are keeping. They may need to be relabeled or sorted differently.
Once those things are done, you are ready to add new files and catagories to the drawers.
Be sure to label the drawers!
Still overwhelmed at the thougth? Start each day by grabbing five files. Sort those into discard/shred, store away in a box or put back in the drawer. Use a sticky note as a marker to show where you've sorted already. Keep this up until it is all gone through. A bit at a time works too. What is that saying....How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
Organizing advice seen in Women's Day, Family Circle, Better Homes and Gardens Publications and more...