The idea of spending an entire day — or weekend — cleaning out file drawers and cabinets is daunting and unpleasant. Instead, get the job done in just a few minutes a day.
Perhaps you have a few minutes before you need to head to a meeting or maybe you’re waiting for someone to call you back. A tiny snippet of time can be all you need to make progress.
Start at the front of one file drawer and pull out the first file. If you have multiple manila folders in a larger hanging file, you can choose just the first manila folder or take on the entire hanging folder dependent upon its size and the amount of time you have to go through it. Whichever you’ve chosen, go through that one file and purge/trash any unnecessary papers — which can include multiple copies of documents, marked-up drafts of the final copy, notes that you no longer need to keep, etc. Put the slimmed-down file back in the drawer.
If you have time to move on to another file, great. If not, flag the next folder with a sticky note that reads “start here.” Then, when you have a few minutes to clean out files again, you’ll know exactly where to start.
Just like any other project, a file clean-out is entirely do-able if you break it down into manageable chunks.