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Are You Organized?

     Not me! I'm working on it. Sort of – no pun intended. Papers are piling up; my file folders are stuffed – especially the "To File" folder. That one's growing by the hour.

     I know. I know. Everything is supposed to be on the computer. Save the trees. Use technology to organize your life. No need to fill all those banker boxes in the garage and all over the floor of your bedroom. Scrap the paper! Scrap the boxes!

     It takes courage to file things in the round file a.k.a. wastebasket. You never know when you'll need them or just want to look something up to see if you really did it and if it was five years ago or ten. But really, the more you can round-file, the more organized your papers will be. Easier to find what you want; easier to grab if there's a natural disaster and you need to get out of the house in a hurry.

     Easy to say; not easy to do. At this point all the organizing's been done in my head, thinking about where to put things. I did write a few lists of possible components of tax, property and medical history boxes. And of course, a box for permanent documents and a box for…

     Two days later I threw the lists away. Half the stuff for the tax box got listed for the permanent documents box, too; a whole bunch of other stuff got on two lists and some ended up on every single list I'd come up with. Every piece of paper wants to go in more than one place and no, no way I'm going to make copies! The goal is to eliminate as many of those boxes as I can without getting caught in a tax audit and not having the stuff to prove I didn't cheat or being asked by the doctor when that leg operation was and having no clue–and no documents to tell me.

     You can probably tell by now that I've been working on my taxes. Yep. And in spite of my inspired decision in January to organize all my paperwork, I haven't touched a thing. Thus the fat "To File" folder.

     I'm flummoxed. The boxes in the garage are sitting around chatting. "Hold onto your stuff! She's on a rampage!" I heard that… Last week I made a move. I took all the folders out of the property box–a bankers box–and put them into a sleek plastic bin I'd bought with high hopes at Staples two or three months ago. A few things got tossed out, but not enough that you or anyone else would notice. And the folders didn't fit in the hanging files because most of the property documents are legal size and the hanging files I bought are letter size so I turned the legal size folders sideways in the bin and let them flop there and then I propped up the remaining letter size folders against them.    

     But still–I was so impressed with myself, I got out the other sleek plastic bin that I'd bought–as a trial run to see if they would improve my filing system–and moved all the medical history papers out of their collapsing banker box and another box they were in and put all of those files–note that, all–into that one. The folders fit nicely into the hanging files this time and I even labeled the tabs. Nothing got tossed.

     And that's it for now. The fat "To File" folder hasn't been touched. Oh yes it has! I just put three receipts in there this morning.

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