Spring into an Organized and Clutter Free Home Office (Part 3)

 

 

© Cheryl C. Malandrinos
- All Rights Reserved.
 

 

 

 

Click to read Part One of this article

Click to read Part Two of this article

 

 

In previous articles we’ve discussed the importance of purging what you no longer need. This is crucial when setting up your filing system.

What kind of filing system do you have? Is it organized? Can you easily find what you’re looking for?

Do you even have a filing system or is your home office cluttered with pieces of paper from various projects? We covered uncluttering your office in Part 1 of this series, so I sure hope not.

There is no magical filing system that works for every writer. Some writers have filing cabinets, others, plastic boxes with lids, and still others, accordion files. The options are as varied as writing styles.

But there is only one place to start.

The first step in setting up your filing system is deciding what you need to have close by, what could be stored elsewhere, and what—if anything—can be discarded.

Anything that helps you in your day to day operations: market news, writing related articles, and research for current projects, needs to be close by. Thankfully, the Internet has made a lot of this a paperless portion of a writer’s life.

We’ll discuss creating an electronic filing system later, but for now, let’s concentrate on those nasty pieces of paper that are searching for a home.

Depending upon what you’re writing—articles or manuscripts—there could be anywhere from a few pieces of paper up to hundreds. My filing cabinet is set up to accommodate one hanging file folder for each project. Within each folder, are several manila folders that are broken down by topic.

For instance, when I began research on the parents of a missing lifeguard who became activists for legislation requiring all convicted felons in Massachusetts to submit DNA samples to a state database, my files looked like this:

* Disappearance

* Search efforts

* Evidence

* Announcements of the anniversaries that passed until they discovered the remains and how they were celebrated

* Organizations the parents founded as a result of their daughter’s disappearance

* Activism

This allowed me to easily check and re-check the facts from this case while I was drafting my article.

Research for your current projects should be towards the front of the filing cabinet, and research for future projects—in order of when you’ll be working on them—should follow.