I'm downsizing from that big room that I've used for the past 15 years to our much smaller 12x15 loft room. That's not a sad decision, it's an opportunity to make big changes and purge and organize my paper files! That's always been a hard thing for me to do. I'm a paper saver. Yes. I love paper files. I've digitized about 50%, but I always want my paper backups.
Downsizing is Tricky
|Some of my current filing cabinets|
Because the loft is chopped up with a dormer at one end and a small powder room at the other, I don't have a lot of wall space. And there is only one full height wall. So no room for my two lateral 3' long filing cabinets, and my rolling antique dentist unit that I use for office materials, or my pine harvest table that currently holds my hanging files or.... well you get the picture!
I am going to have to weed down to 3/4 of my current desk (hubs has to figure out how to make an l-shaped desk out of a u-shaped one), my credenza and one lateral filing cabinet. Oh yeah and one bookcase.
So all my files have to fit into the credenza or one filing cabinet. A challenge to be sure! I am going to have to purge like crazy. The one bonus is that I can put my second lateral filing cabinet in the basement for overflow. Phew.
|Hanging File folders on harvest table and one bookcase|
Figuring Out a Working System
I've got a bit of an idea for a working system to start the process. I figure I'll sort first into business vs genealogy vs personal. Three basic "piles". Business vs personal is easy - anything older than 7 years gets shredded. The rest gets organized into categories, labelled if needed and only the current year stays in my files. Older years go into a large envelope, labelled by year and taken to basement storage.
This will be a flexible system, and I'll change it as needed.
Sorting Genealogy Papers
Genealogy is the hard one for me! I'll start by sorting papers by the following criteria and then decide what goes to the loft and what has to go to the basement:
1. my personal genealogy
2. client work
3. research for family history books I'm writing or planning/hoping to write
That means I finally have to steel myself to toss the photocopies of French documents I used to write my first Van Slyke history book. That's a pile of papers at least 3 feet high. Maybe higher.
That means I have to throw out the copies I've keep of documents about various family lines that aren't mine. You know, the ones you keep "in case". In case some other genealogist ever asks you about that family. In case you one day find out you are related. I'm taking the plunge, after 25 years with me I don't think I need them taking up space in my home anymore. That's going to be tough to do.
But perhaps I'll finally be able to proudly proclaim that I have indeed organized my genealogy!