As many people have problems organizing the paperwork that enters their NYC homes or offices, I wanted to share a recent project that I did with a client. My client was at a loss when it came to organizing her NYC paperwork and needed a paperwork organizer as she would place the paper on whatever surface was accessible. She had been doing this for a while and had piles of paper on all of the furniture in her living room/dining room. When she ran out of space on the furniture, she started accumulating the paper on various spots on the floor and on the empty box from the new air conditioner.
My objective for our first meeting was to clear the dining room table which served as her desk and to establish a system for organizing the paperwork so that it could be processed upon receipt in her NYC home. My client thought that a paperwork organizer should be able to clear the paper in the entire room during this meeting. I immediately needed to set a realistic expectation. paper organizing is a much slower process than sorting clothes or other possessions as you need to assess the contents of each piece so that a decision regarding its disposition can be made.
Once our focus was clarified, it was time to get to work. We started by organizing the paperwork at one end of the table by piling up the papers that were strewn on the table. My client immediately stated that she could sort through the pile on her own and that we should be doing something else while I was there. I quickly pointed out that she needed to start sorting the papers so that I as her paperwork organizer could coach her through the decision making process so that ultimately she would be able to sort the papers on her own. In addition, I needed to get an understanding of the types of actions represented by each piece of paper that needed to be kept. By doing this, I could set up a box to collect the papers and she would then know what needed to be filed, what tasks needed to be done and what needed to be shredded.
My client started getting into the paper organizing groove, was able to sort most papers quickly placing them in the To Do, File, Shred or Mail boxes. Whenever she was unsure what to do with a specific document, we would discuss its importance and why should might need to keep it. By the end of our session, we had cleared the entire table and floor underneath it and my client had a clear understanding of what to do with all new paperwork that came into the apartment. She was very pleased with the results and understood that in order to make progress she needed to stay focused on the paper for a specific amount of time.
Her homework assignment was to continue sorting the paper. She is going to set a timer for 30 minutes and work on the piles in one area for that time. She will start with the piles on the floor as the space needs to be cleared for her safety. Prior to our next meeting, I will be checking in with her periodically to see how she is doing and to address any questions that she may have.