Oh fuck, it’s Thursday already.

See how bad I need this series?   So, Purgeday Thursday (working title) is upon us again, and I am so already effing up this whole weekly series thing.  (It’s nearing midnight on Thursday as I write this.  Scott is going to bed.)    But I can’t give up.   I can’t, dear readers, because I am literally drowning in crap.   And thankfully, just when I started to break out in a cold sweat about totally blowing the VERY FIRST WEEK of my attempt of a series on minimizing and getting organized, I remembered something totally awesome. And by remembered, I mean that I REALIZED I HAD TOTALLY FORGOT TO TELL YOU GUYS THAT WE HAVE OUR VERY OWN EXPERT ON HAND TO HELP US THROUGH OUR ORGANIZATIONAL NIGHTMARES!   (That was so Oprah of me with the all caps.  Sorry about that.)  Readers, meet Beth Ziegler.  Or as I like to call her, Super Beth.

When she’s not getting lives in order via her professional organizing biz BNEATO, she’s giving tips on how to do so over at Apartment Therapy, and today…and in fact for [whatever we end up calling] Purgeday Thursday in general, she has beyond graciously offered to lend her brilliant organizational expertise to us here at The818 in hopes that we all may purge successfully and live lighter for it. Beth,  I’d say I love you, but that would be creepy so early in our friendship and wouldn’t cover it anyway.

It’s not a good situation up in here.   Basically I have no idea what to do with the 3000 tons of paper that are delivered to my house each day.   From scripts to bills to storyboards and beyond I’m constantly drowning in a sea of paper.   I asked Beth – beyond going paperless — which she whole-heartedly recommends and I do whenever possible both for convenience and earth — how the hell are you supposed to wrangle/file/manage all that mail?!   We’ve got us a smart cookie though, so she was able to shed some light (read: part the clouds while angels sang) —

Here are some rules to keep your incoming mail running smoothly.

–Open your mail daily.  It’s so important to get into the habit of opening your mail on a daily basis.  Even if you do nothing else with it but file it into your active filing system–it will save you tons of time and frustration in the long run.

–House a recycle bin and a shredder wherever you open the mail (preferably a desk where you’ll have supplies like stamps, envelopes and pens).

–As soon as you bring the mail indoors, open each envelope, shred what is necessary (ie; credit card offers) and toss the junk mail immediately.  A fellow organizing friend of ours always says, “Junk mail should never touch a surface.”  I agree!

–Once you have opened your mail, you will need a place for it to live until you’re ready to actively work on it.  That’s where your active files come into play…

Before setting up your active filing system, ext, you’ll want to process the categories of paperwork that come through the door.  Some examples are bills to be paid, an invitation to a party, following up on a request, correspondence, etc. These files are used frequently so they need to be visible and easily accessed.

I love using wall pockets for active files.  [ed: I love this idea Beth!  This is what Scott and I are going to try this weekend!] You can also use desktop organizers as well as mail cubbies (as long as they are properly labeled).


I mean, she’s good right?   I feel super lucked out out that she’s agreed to be our Purging Guru.  Our Purguru, if you will.

In addition to being an organizing pro, Beth is a work-from-homer like me, so we also talked about how to keep your “home” paperwork and your “work” paperwork separate when it’s all running from the same desk.   I complain about my Expedit Prison, but Beth reports that her workspace consists of the (gorgeous) strip of kitchen counter [pictured].   So obviously she did not disappoint on the advice tip. {Click HERE to see Beth’s post on Unplggd about her own compact home office.}

So my homework for the week?   To seriously revamp my filing system, getting rid of all the post-collegiate clutter and making room for managing our household like humans.   Beth recommends creating a set of “Active Files” to keep things at bay {I mean, are you seeing those photos above?  That is AFTER I spent like 36 straight hours organizing and shredding.}


Categories of your new active files are broad, such as;

1.  Bills to pay

2.  Response needed (RSVP’s, personal correspondence)

3.  To Read

4.  To File

5.  Pending (pending papers are for those instances when you can take no further action on a piece of paper, but you still need it for reference until it’s done.

Once your active files are no longer active, they may go into the “To File” category and filed according to your system (once/day, once/week).

Folks who do work from home should try and keep their “office related items” confined to one spot but that doesn’t mean they can’t roam around with their laptop or a particular project.  I [Beth] keep work separate from personal by using color files to identify what’s stored inside. Red for Bneato and Purple for personal stuff works great for me. For my active files that sit out, they’re all white so as to blend in with my home decor (but they’re labeled:).

Again, I bow to the greatness that is Super Beth.  Although, admittedly I’ve already spent an inordinate amount of time looking at pretty filing crap, because, well…I love me some filing crap.   So I have a feeling next week’s installment is going to be more LOOK WHAT I BOUGHT AT STAPLES, less full-executed lesson.   Maybe Beth can keep me on track there too.  ;).   And if you’re feeling like you could still use more guidance on what to file and what to ditch, check out Beth’s amazeballs “Record Retention Guidelines.”  (Sounds super official, huh?  This is full-on adult shit we are getting into here.)

Okay, and finally since I’ve narrowed it down to my three favorite name choices, and polls are totally my new favorite thing, I made a button for each name, and hope you’ll weigh in in the comments, because it’s so late, and I’m so tired, and I just can NOT create a poll right now.   Maybe tomorrow.    Happy purging.   If you’ve got a yet-to-be-named-awesome-thursday-purgeday-and/or-organization post, link that baby up below.

And now, your button options, like anyone but me is doing this:

Then there’s this one which gave me a chuckle because it’s totally something I would say, courtesy of Kathleen ~

And then, I mean, how could I not make one for this:

And of course, your linky…should you choose to join me.

So which overrun area of your home are you tackling first?   Any conundrums for Beth’s brilliant mind to ponder?

Feed Me Seymour