Organizing the Mess!

After years of writing I decided to overhaul my entire file/office supply system. On top of the writing files, I found while doing this that I still had some homeschool papers that I did not need – as well as some that are necessary – and that I had to go through my personal files.

The entire process took me a couple of weeks, because I do have my day job. There were not many large blocks of time to accomplish things, so I did a little each day until the job was complete.

My place, of course, was a mess through this project. It is looking much better, and more organized, now.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

First, I had these three large file baskets to go through, as well as the box and the a basket of odds and ends. (The yellow box now holds personal correspondences and pictures – things of a personal nature.)

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

And a couple of more baskets with assorted notepads and office supplies under those.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

And yet another big file basket next to the glider.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

And two of these file boxes.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Let’s not forget the three tote bags filled with stuff.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

And this mess of pens, highlights, pencils and other supplies.

I had a lot to do, and decided to start with the big file boxes. I went through every piece of paper, making new folders for each paper/group of papers I wanted to keep. Shredding what I didn’t want others to see, and throwing out a bunch more stuff, I started to get the mess under a little more control. Two garbage bags full of stuff is what I carted out the the trash bin in the end. It was a lot of work and took up the bulk of my organizing time.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

I even cleaned out the two small file boxes, and set those up as my main file receptacles. See how neat and tidy they look? One file box holds fiction items, the other non fiction. There are extra files at the back of each box, for future projects.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

And this is the only large file basket I am kept, for the personal files I needed to keep, as well as business records I cannot throw out. There is even a file for each of my daughters so when they call and say “Mom, I need a copy of…” or “Momma, I can’t find…” I can quickly locate what they need.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

These, along with a couple of large envelopes, were used to organize the above file box.

I then moved onto the tote bags, shredding, throwing away, and filing what I would keep.

And I went through all of my notebooks and legal pads and binders doing the same.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

This mess was all of the fiction writing prompts I had collected over the years, thinking one day I might get to them. I went through each and ever sheet of paper.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

The prompts I thought I might actually use were put into my writing prompt journal. I just taped each prompt in there, so as not to waste much time on writing everything over again. What I didn’t think I would use was thrown out.

I started this journal last year. There are some good ideas in it. Whenever I want to write something new, I just read through the journal.

There were also notes on what I wanted to do with each of my blogs and channels. Going through these notes, I got rid of what I did not think would work.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck. Copyright 2013

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck. Copyright 2013

I taped the notes for the blogs into their perspective notebooks. (Also created last year.)

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck. Copyright 2013

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck. Copyright 2013

And did the same for the channels I write for. (This project was also started last year.) All the blog and channel notebooks are composition books. I like the sturdier covers, and wanted to add some flair to my work day.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck Copyright 2013

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck Copyright 2013

While I was accomplishing all that, I was setting aside all my notes on marketing, self-publishing, and whatnot. These notes I taped into my business notebook (Started last year as well.) The business notebook is the big green notebook. The other is for the fiction prompts. Both are hardbound so they will last.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

My efforts left me with a good size collection of partially used notebooks, journals, and legal pads, not to mention the loose paper and now-empty binders. I wont run out for quite some time!

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

I set up this binder to keep my published article indexes in. I will be filling it with all the different locations my articles have been published as soon as I get the chance.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

This small basket now houses my address book, envelopes, stationary, and the like. It has been placed next to my glider so I can reach down and pluck what I want from it while watching television.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

And I used a larger basket to house my office supplies. Pencils in one cup. Pens in the second. Highlighters in the third. And rubber bands and tacks in the fourth. My markers, an extra package of pencils, and crayons (Yes, crayons. I use them for visual story planning.) are all nestled in with my ruler, scissors, tape, paperclips, and pencil sharpener. And all my little notepads and sticky notes fit neatly as well. I wont run out of anything for a long time.

I have significantly cut back on the amount of paper and filing containers that I have, freeing up space. A friend is going to pick up the unnecessary file baskets and file folders, so they will not go to waste. Everything looks tidy in my small space.

Share with us in the comments below, or email me at shannonlbuck@gmail.com, to share your de-cluttering and organizing ideas for your freelance business.

Have a good day!

Shannon L. Buck

About Shannon L. Buck

Hello. My name is Shannon, and I'm a single mother of two young adult daughters, and Memay to one precious Little Man. I work as a writer from my home in Orono, Maine, and as a Front Desk Agent at an inn. Writing is my life, second only to my daughters. I enjoy writing nonfiction, as well as fiction in a number of genres. At some point, I would like to travel. It would be a true writing adventure.