March 24, 2015

Organizational Project Part 5: The Domino Effect in an Organization Project

In January I began my plan to sort, organize and digitize my family photos.  I ended up ordering archival boxes and sleeves from a company called GetSmartProducts

My Alcove for Binding Books
I've previously shared how I am organizing, sorting and purging these photos and if you missed those earlier posts, you can view them by clicking on the lable "Organization Project" at the bottom of this post or in the right side bar.

If you're also organizing I am willing to bet you have run into what I call "The Domino Effect". That's when you realize that in order to sort items "A" you have to make room somewhere in your house to store them, and that means rearranging/organizing a closet in Room "B". But the closet is full so you have to make room for those items (after you sort and purge of course!) somewhere else - perhaps in cupboard or closet "C" but closet "C" is also full.... and on and on it goes.

That happened to us yesterday. My husband needed more room for a project he is working on so I agreed to give up a small room in the basement that we use for binding my coil-bound books and doing lookups on microfiche. 

That meant the unbound books and the equipment (binding machine, laminator etc) had to be stored elsewhere and it had to be somewhere easily accessible. Okay my office in our loft would do nicely....IF I made some room on the big table for the equipment, and room in the closet for the unbound books.

Making room on the table meant sorting, organizing, purging and filing 3 large cardboard boxes of miscellaneous papers - business papers, personal papers, genealogy papers - it was all a big mess of unsorted "stuff". 

Because I really didn't want to start on that task, I made a decision that was unusual for me. I would be ruthless. Any old scraps of paper that I scribbled on with vague references or notes, would be tossed in the garbage. Any old research would be likewise dumped in the trash. I would only keep documents (business, personal and genealogy) that absolutely needed to be kept. That's not easy for me. I have good intentions - one day I will read through all the notes I made in 2002 and see what, if anything, needs to go into my files. But I realize that now, at this stage of my life, it is unlikely I will ever get to that. So --- decision made, no turning back and I began sorting. 

After 3 hours I had a garbage bag full of papers that my husband will dump into our burning barrel and destroy. The bag weighs over 25 pounds. I tossed old fan-fold genealogy (and you know how old that must have been). I found, and discarded, an old leather wallet that had sentimental value. I even found unopened mail from 2012!

And so the project continues. My husband has removed all his "junk" from my office credenza (yes he kind of took over my lovely office in our loft) which provides room for all the unbound books and the ones he is busy binding today.

The large table is ready for the bookbinding equipment. As difficult (and scary) as it was for me to throw out all those papers, it feels really good to have done so!

My hoarding tendencies have to be overcome at times. I hate throwing out paper because maybe, just maybe, I will need it one day.... but after yesterday I feel I'm on the right track and can't wait to get at my 3 drawer lateral filing cabinet that is crammed full of genealogy papers! 

Here are links to the previous blog posts about this project:

Organizing Family Photos - Creating a Plan

Organizational Project Part 2 - Family Diaries

Organization Project Part 3 - Digitizing Family Slides

Organizational Project Part 4 - Sorting the Family Photographs


Crissouli said...

You're a brave lady... I've been slowly, ever so slowly, working my way through my papers as well.
No way have I a great bag full to go out, but I have felt quite proud of the three small bags of papers I have scanned, which really aren't needed in hard copy.

There shall be more :-)

Danni Altman-Newell said...

Oh wow this sounds like me, LOL! I'm also working on purging and organizing (very exciting for my husband). Good luck on your organizing adventure :)