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Chapter 5. Here to Stay: Storing Documen... > Step 1: Divide Your Documents into G...

Step 1: Divide Your Documents into Groups

The first thing you're going to do with those loose papers is separate them into groups. With this step, you can begin at the very beginning, working with those thoroughly miscellaneous loose papers you collected from your desk, floor, countertop, bed, and of course the tops of the file cabinets! If you already have a partial file system, you can build around your existing files using the principles you learn here, or you can start from scratch. Your choice will probably depend on how well your old system has worked for you and much time you have to devote to this chapter. Remember the concept of Organized Enough as you decide whether to work around what you have or start fresh.


There are a few broad groups of files that I've found work well for most of my clients. These groups cover all of the paper storage needs of a typical household and are often housed in different areas of the home depending on how often they are accessed and how much prime file space is available. In a traditional filing system, you might have one group in each drawer; for a piling or hybrid system, you might arrange them with one group per shelf.


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