Throw A Pitch-it Party

backpack

By Debbie Rosemont

Summer is upon us, and for many, graduation was a much celebrated event.  Graduations, from elementary school to graduate school are the start of a new chapter in life. As a new phase begins, it’s time to say goodbye to the old. Before embarking on the next journey, find some time to go through the stuff and the memories from the last chapter. Among all of the other celebrations and parties during this time, throw yourself a “pitch-it party” and get rid of the old to make room for the new. The same can be applied if you’re changing jobs, packing up one office to get ready for your next opportunity- a “job graduation”.

By the end of the school year, or time on a particular job, our homes and offices can become inundated with projects, papers, books and partially used supplies. Here are a few ideas for your “pitch-it party.” Before you dive in, make sure to put on some tunes and line up some treats.  A party isn’t complete without music and food. If it helps, invite a guest or two to party with you – more hands make for lighter work!

1. Old textbooks. Are you really going to need that introduction to forestry book ever again? Probably not, so pitch- it!  The same goes for many of the text books you purchased throughout the year. Consider selling them back to the bookstore during the textbook-buy-back time. You can also sell your text books online, or possibly donate them to a library. These ideas can be applied to books specific to your job as well.

2. Notebooks. Those scribbled in, messy notes probably only made sense at the time you wrote them.  Recycle or shred the contents of your notebooks, if you have a few important pages in the middle, scan them for safe keeping instead of keeping the entire notebook. Take class notes, meeting notes, study notes, hand-written drafts, lists, conference materials, etc and pitch them.

3. Artwork or other large projects. You may be really proud after getting an A on that huge end of the semester science project, but that doesn’t mean you have to find storage for it. Instead, capture the memory, and all the hard work, in a photo to proudly display.  The same can be said for projects you worked on for your job.

4. Supplies specific to a particular class, project or job that you just can’t see using again or are tattered to be useful any longer. Toss pencils that now only resemble stubs, spiral notebooks with only 2 unwritten pages left, dried up glue sticks, or things you purchased specifically for a class or project that you are now done with. Pitch them to make room for supplies needed in your next chapter.

5. Find homes for the things you will actually use in the next chapter of your life, or that you want as a keepsake. Did you graduate with a degree in psychology and plan to go into practice? Perhaps there are some books you will reference again during your career. Put those on your bookshelf. Can’t seem to let go of the project that brought you and a beau together, resulting in a marriage proposal? Put it into a keepsake box to pull out again on your Golden wedding anniversary.

Remember graduation, whether from school or work, is a time to celebrate your achievement and look forward to your future.  Make sure the items you take along for the journey will help propel you to success rather than drag you to disappointment.

The Life Cycle of Paper

paper flying

By Amber Kostelny-Cussen | www.ambersorganizing.com

Much like other things in life, paper has a life cycle. Paper has a specific job for a short period of time. When we treat paper as a family member or like an antique piece of furniture, it creates, besides a big stack of clutter, a problem with the organization of our home and office. So let’s take a look at the cycle in detail.

Paper arrives. It comes through the mail, through our printer, through backpacks, through purses and briefcases.  Paper doesn’t just magically appear all over the floor, counter top or table. We hit the print button. We subscribe to newspapers, catalogs, magazines and newsletters. We also decide where to place it, dump it, or organize it.

Paper stays. The main reason we accumulate excess paper is because a decision isn’t made at the time of its arrival. Make decisions. Decide to decide. What is absolutely essential to running this family, this business, or this office? Could you get the information again from another source if you needed to? Could it be found online or stored electronically? If I haven’t taken action by now, will I ever? If I need to research this again, will the research still be available to me?  Nine times out of 10, most paper can be pitched. There is not a magic answer to how long to keep paper.  You have to ask yourself the right questions to make the right decisions.

Paper leaves. If you think about it, there are not many examples of paper  we need to keep forever. Most paper has a deadline, expiration, and date  range to indicate if it needs saving.  The few examples of paper that would  stay forever would be a passport, birth certificate, adoption papers, marriage  certificate, death certificate, a deed to a home and any other long term legal  paperwork, such as a will.

The Challenge: Rid yourself of as much paper as possible.  Ditch the piles, throw out the old and dated. Consider saving things in organized files on the computer instead of hitting the print button.  Try putting a recycling bin by the door. Pitch as much paper as possible before you let any more in. Consider stopping your subscriptions. Instead of stuffing paper in your bag, briefcase or purse, toss it instead.  Don’t bring it home. Choose to say enough is enough. Stop the paper cycle from starting and you won’t have to organize it later.