Sorting and Purging 101

Think about it. Anywhere you have clutter, you have delayed decisions. Under your desk. On top of your filing cabinet. In your car. The dining room table. How about your email inbox?

Once you decide to bring organization to a space, you’re faced with the Sort and Purge process which is making decisions, many of them difficult, on what to do with your stuff.  At this point, some people give up, deciding that the decision-making process is too cumbersome or difficult. Make this decision-making process a little easier and quicker by having three containers handy for Sorting and Purging.

  1. Garbage Can–You will come across items that are simply junk and need to be tossed. Like the name badge from a conference you attended three years ago or the pen that requires an ink refill found only in Germany. At home, you’ll uncover prizes such as stray marbles and puzzle pieces.
  2. Open Box–This will be used for donations of items you no longer need but someone else can still benefit from.  If you’re organizing your office, take this box of items to the employee break room and simply put a “FREE” sign on it. You’ll be amazed at how quickly things disappear. When organizing at home I recommend using a dark lawn and leaf bag. Why? These bags are super strong and due to their size, can hold a lot. This will make setting aside donated items a lot easier.  And the fact that it’s dark…well, you know where I’m going with this. It will prevent you, or others in your household, from seeing through the sides and deciding to “rescue” something that has already been marked for donation.
  3. Container with handles–This could be a shopping bag, wicker basket or a laundry basket if organizing at home. As you are sorting and purging an area you will come across items that belong in another department, someone else’s office or elsewhere at home. Instead of leaving your organizing project (some of you are just looking for an excuse to get away!), keep your focus by placing these random items in this container. After you are all done sorting and purging, then take this bag/basket of items and deliver them to their correct homes.

When sorting and purging your email inbox, you will be faced with some of the following decision options:

  1. Delete–It is estimated over 50% of the email sitting in our inboxes can be deleted.
  2. Archive/File–For those emails that truly need to be saved, properly file or archive them according to retention guidelines.
  3. Schedule–Many emails represent future To Do items or appointments.  In this case, drag the email to your calendar or Tasks and delete from your Inbox. To learn how to do this in MS© Outlook or Lotus Notes, check out this video that demonstrates how.

Where can you go from here?

Take a look around your office and/or home. Identify an area that contains clutter. Set out to put on your Decision-Making hat and, using the containers listed above, begin Sorting and Purging. I promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

This article was created by the team at Organized Audrey. This material may be reprinted or reposted, but please credit the author and our website:

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