stack of bindersEvery office I’ve ever been in has had several binders, if not shelves full, of conference materials gathered at events over the years. They take up space that might be put to better use — but how do you know if you can and should get rid of them?

Here are few questions you can ask yourself and few new ways of thinking about those materials. Put some of these into action and you’ll have a less cluttered office space.

  • Look at the date of the materials. Is the information still current? The speed at which new ideas are being generated means the information is probably outdated.
  • Look at the contents. While you attended the conference to learn new ideas, have you incorporated those ideas into your knowledge bank by now?
  • Is there any other way to get this information again? Do a test Google search on a concept you’re tempted to keep around because you might want to implement it someday. If your search turns up enough helpful information, toss the materials. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll run across an idea only once in a lifetime. After all, don’t “they” say there is no new idea under the sun?
  • If you’ve had the information around for years and still not implemented it, clearly it was never a priority – which is OK. So allow yourself to part with the materials.
  • Do you even know what information is in the binders? If not, and your business has been running fine without it, toss the materials.
  • Perhaps there are a few items within a binder that you prefer to keep. If so, make certain your filing system (physical or electronic) supports your ability to find the papers that you keep and file.
  • Remember that taking notes helps your brain focus and retain the information. That doesn’t mean you have to keep your handwritten notes.

With your now uncluttered shelf space, you’ll find it creates uncluttered brain space.