Sunday, July 25, 2010

Office Therapy

I recently read the book "Apartment Therapy" by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, and am now working through the suggestions in it.  (I found out about this book b/c one of the blogs I follow had a really great post about it.)  The premise is that you will feel much better about yourself if you get your living space in order.  Also, it's not about being "hoity toity" and having a beautiful house or apartment, but having one that is right for YOU and supports you in your activities.  I have found it very helpful. 

I was skipping around and decided to focus on my office for the past few days because it needs the most help.  Everytime I walk in here, I feel like "ugh"!  Office clutter seems to pile up the fastest, doesn't it?  I had piles of bills from over 10 years ago!  Also, my filing cabinet was crammed full of old stuff and was disorganized so files were piling up on my desk, the floor, etc.

Mr. Gillingham-Ryan suggests color-coding your files so you can see major categories at a glance.  My files are now pink and purple for personal stuff, green for professional stuff, and brown for house stuff.  I am so happy now that there is a place for all the paper clutter that has been covering my desk for years.  Also, I never knew what to keep and what to throw away, so I kept everything!  (You know....just in case.)  The following list in the book helped me greatly:

Keep:                                       For how long:
1.  Personal Letters -                permanently
2.  Tax returns -                        permanently
3.  Credit Card Statements -       7 years
4.  Mortgage Statements -          7 years
5.  Bank Statements -                 7 years
6.  Investment Statements -        7 years
7.  Tax deductible receipts -       7 years
8.  Insurance Policies -              3 years of renewals
9.  Warranties, User's Guides -   Life of Product  (or as long as you own it.)

Do NOT keep:
1.  Personal or holiday cards
2.  Utility bills (unless deductible)
3.  Rent receipts
4.  Nondeductible receipts or bills

Go ahead and declutter that office.  It doesn't take as long as you think it's going to, and you'll be glad you did!


  1. I am in dire need of office decluttering both at home and work. This post is both helpful and inspiring. I CAN do it! It's just a matter of starting with one pile, one drawer, one tray... Love the colour coding idea too.

    Reading books such as this one give you an immediate shift in focus from 'can't be bothered tidying, think I'll just sit on the sofa with crap food and watch tv' to actually wanting to do housework and decluttering because his description of your home being a haven sounds so enticing.

    And the beauty is anyone can have it, right now. You don't need to wait to have more money, more time or more storage. Merci for a great post!

  2. Well, thank YOU Fiona for your great post which let me know about this book in the first place! Seriously, I would not have known about it otherwise. Your description of the "cool" vs. "warm" idea made me want to read more. I think I'm a cool person who is trapped in a warm house b/c of warm habits! (Meaning, I like it when things are clear and minimalistic, but I keep putting clutter everywhere!)

    I agree with you--it's not about money. I love that you don't need a lot of money to do what he suggests in the book. Also, we get tricked into thinking that we need more space, when what we really need to do is manage the space we have better. :-)