The Holy List

KBB_recycled_paperIn a world where there’s a push to go paperless, it’s easy to want to get rid of your paper-based system entirely. Going digital keeps things safe and well-preserved, and hopefully makes them easier to archive and access (providing you have a good digital filing system in place!)

As attractive as gaining the extra space might be, there are still some documents that you should keep on hand that I consider part of “The Holy List” a.k.a. “The List of Things Ye Shall Not Purge”. For someone like me who relies on a hybrid paper/digital system, there are certain documents that forever will remain in paper format. But if you’re really desperate to go digital here are some of the things that you should at least consider keeping on hand.

  • Any important documents associated with life events such as birth, death, and marriage certificates
  • Household/auto/medical/travel insurance policies, certificates, assessments, etc.
  • Deeds, leases, rental agreements, etc. for all of the properties that you rent, own or lease
  • Degrees, certifications, diplomas, awards, report cards, school transcripts, or important test scores such as the SATs or LSATs
  • Original contract agreements for household and workplace employees, vendors, service providers and major clients
  • Tax documents and assessments (you are required by law to hold onto these documents for a certain number of years; check with your local government as the rules change depending on where you live)
  • End-of-life documents such as wills, Power of Attorney forms, funeral arrangements,etc. (It may be helpful for your loved ones to have a list of bank accounts, pension numbers, etc. to help ease the process and obtain some peace of mind.)

Notice that I didn’t include keepsakes on my list- I leave these up to your individual judgment. What makes a memory meaningful is subjective from one person to the next, and the way a person chooses to keep, store and access their memories is entirely up to them. I don’t believe in holding onto absolutely everything because I have found that I enjoy re-visiting my memories more when I can access them more easily, which for me means confining them to a couple of boxes on my bookshelf. For some people, it might mean scanning everything into a computer. As long as things are organized in a way that feels right to you, and it isn’t jeopardizing the health, safety or well-being of yourself or any others in your environment, go for it! Please just remember to let go of anything unnecessary, meaningless or painful to you now. Your memories deserve better than that!

It can be easy to get caught up in the power of The Purge (I totally identify with it here), and with The Holy List you can’t really go wrong. Trust your instincts. If you won’t use it again, shred it. If it’s something that’s going to come back to bite you in the butt, keep it, or at least make sure you have an additional digital version handy just in case.

Sticking to a strict list of documents that I should keep has definitely made a difference in my life, and subsequently increased the amount of room I had on my bookshelf, so you know what that means. I can’t say for sure whether or not this was my plan all along but my story is that the added space was a surprise, and I’m sticking to it.

KBwB-BFlower-50Haven’t started a Purge of your own yet? Don’t delay and start your journey here. Looking for other ways to organize your space and make more room on your bookshelf? I yak on about my favorite solutions here. If there’s something that should be on my list that I forgot, call me on it below! I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Take Control of Your Life with a Command Central Binder

KBB_colorful_calendar_even_closelierHonest-to-goodness, one of the best organizing strategies that I have used in my life has been the implementation of what’s commonly known among the organizing bloggers as the “Command Central Binder”. It has become one of the most important tools in my workflow system and if I didn’t swear by it, I wouldn’t be sharing mine with y’all today.

I have to give credit where credit is due: this is not an original idea. The idea of a Command Central binder was first introduced to me when I started receiving the Simplify 101 newsletter. (I don’t know anyone who works there I swear! I just troll the Internet for organizing resources because I have a serious addiction to that kind of thing.)

The reason why the Command Central binder is so useful that it is a collection tool designed to allow you more control over the various aspects of your life by keeping all information relevant to you stored in one convenient place. At first I struggled with the idea of creating one because it seemed to be geared towards the busy mother looking to manage multiple schedules, papers, records, tasks and other important information in a place that was at her fingertips. And it is that. But it’s also so much more.

I took the concept one step further and realized I could take the basic principles behind the Command Central binder and adopt them to my own workflow needs. I have a section for all of my to-do lists involving some of the personal and professional projects that I’m working on right now and another section that contains my monthly budget and all of my financial worksheets. The sections don’t have to be strictly utilitarian, either. There’s a section in mine that’s simply for all of books I want to read (the ones that aren’t already logged on my Goodreads profile) and yet another section that tracks future projects and wish lists that I’ve appropriately labeled “Wishin’ and Hopin’”

The key to a making a Command Central binder that works for you is to personalize it as much as you possibly can. It took me of years of tweaking my formula to arrive at the sections that worked for me but because I don’t have children I instead used my Command Central binder as a place to keep track of anything that has to do with my personal and professional well-being and growth. Some of the sections included are the ones I’ve described above; there are a few others as well. I’ll spare you the gory details.

Anything that you need to refer to on a constant basis goes here. Any tools to help your routines, schedules and workflow management belong here as well. Use some of my examples or create your own. Consider including: calendars, school lunch menus, extra-curricular and volunteer schedules, account information and passwords, contacts, chore charts, pantry inventories, budgets, wish lists, to-do lists, membership information, someday/maybe tasks…the list is virtually endless. Once you’ve figured out which pieces of information are most relevant to you, make sure they’re organized in a way that’s easy to use. Refer back to your Command Central binder and revise often to meet your changing needs. I hope you find yours as useful as I’ve found mine.

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Have you adopted a Command Central binder into your organizing system? Comment below and share what worked for you. Or drop me a line at keepingbusyb@gmail.com and I’ll try to include it an upcoming post. Still looking for other ways to get organized? Click here to read more about some of the methods I’ve found useful.