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Taming the Paper Tiger: What to Toss & How to Find the Rest – Barbara Hemphill

At the beginning of August I attended two conferences. One, Haven Conference, was geared towards DIY bloggers and developing your blogging/DIY skills. LOVED it. The other was Becoming Conference here in my home town. While it wasn’t necessarily geared towards bloggers – and it was filled with SO much good information!

The best session I went to was by Barbara Hemphill. A North Carolina native, and a professional organizer. She’s the real deal. Go visit her website and see just how amazing and useful her information and services are!

Her session named “Taming the Paper Tiger at Home: What to Toss & How to Find the Rest” was sensational. While I haven’t used the systems she talked about, I am planning my day of “getting it together.”

Here are some highlights of her session:

1. Start with what you DON’T want, if you are confused as to what you do want.
             – make a list of the things you want to change
             – starting defining your WHY for organizing

You have THREE decisions to make when it comes to paper…

File: The I don’t know, but don’t want to toss pile. – – – these go into a reference file
Act: Some type of action needs to occur in order to get it out of sight. Maybe a bill, a recipe, or craft needing to be made
Toss: recycle, shred, delete. It’s paper. It only fits into one of the categories.

THIS is the price you pay when keeping anything.

Think about it!

How much more time would you like to save yourself by NOT keeping that piece of paper?!

Now comes the fun part… Arranging your desk or command central according to hers. (She’s a pro organizer. Former president of National Association of Professional Organizers. LISTEN TO HER.)

I couldn’t find the real source for this… If this is yours, please tell me! I love it!

Go look at this lovely office! So adorable.

Your command central should be the most likely place: a desk, a closet made into a “drop station,” or a section of your kitchen just for dealing with paper.

Use her Magic Six to create your desk top system that has everything you need in reach.

#1 Desk Tops Trays:
       a. In – haven’t look at it…
       b. Out – bills, mailings, outgoing items
       c. File – action or reference item

#2 Wastebasket, Shred, & Recycle:
       a. It can only goes in one of these three places!

#3 Calendar:
       a. L-O-V-E your planner!
       b. Use both a paper one and an electronic one. Be sure to share this electronic one with your family members!

#4 Contact Management System:
       a. Rolodex, address book, etc
       b. Electronic address book on your computer

#5 Action Files: Ball in My Court
       a. Bills, book to write, recipe, etc

#6 Reference Files:
       a. Your own system of filing, whatever that may be.
            – either by subject, type of action (data entry, orders, etc), or date

*Barbara created her own system of using a numerical search system. 

My goal for the next few months is to identify the Magic Six and implement. Tweak what works for me and what doesn’t.

“If you aren’t able to use it currently, you are cluttering your life. And…

Barbara Hemphill

Simplify your stuff. You don’t need it all.

A few questions to ask yourself while you are organizing anything…

If the worst possible thing occured, what would happen?? Am I willing to live with it???

Is whatever you are holding on to leaving a legacy behind???

Does this help me accomplish my work and enjoy my life??

If not, take care of it.

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    1. I know, I know, Andrea! It really does consume my life. But, we have 2014 to get it together!!!! Yay. Each day is a new day, and a new day for something to go to Goodwill. Let's do this together! Thanks for stopping by!

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