Banning the MISCELLANEOUS Label

  • By birdie@getorganizedcolumbus.com
  • 18 Jan, 2017
Paper Files
If you look at what constitutes most piles of stuff or paper, you will likely find 90% of it is unnecessary or no longer useful and one or two things may be something of value. The lonely thing of value tends to be the glue that holds the rest of the useless items together–and useless items tend to […]
If you look at what constitutes most piles of stuff or paper, you will likely find 90% of it is unnecessary or no longer useful and one or two things may be something of value. The lonely thing of value tends to be the glue that holds the rest of the useless items together–and useless items tend to proliferate. This is actually how most piles originate and grow. The pile then becomes a source of aggravation rather than a good place to return to find things.
Furthermore, if you tried to label this pile for longer-term keeping, it could not be described in one category or word. It would likely be called “Miscellaneous.” I seek to eliminate the Miscellaneous Label with clients as they generally represent a mishmash of things that aren’t valuable enough to be categorized. What might seem like a simple fix to store a few unrelated things over time becomes just another pile of unfound and unused items.
If you look inside your miscellaneous paper file for example, you might find a couple kept  business cards, a few papers about upcoming events that have passed, an old list of things to do, some receipts, an advertisement with a coupon to your favorite store, a recipe, and the vaccination card for your child’s school records. They have been in there for over eight months now, and you had to review them again to remember what was placed in this catch-all file. There is one item of value–the vaccination card that should be filed away in a specific place such as Vital Records for that person. The other items can be managed in other ways or discarded/recycled: the business cards can be entered in your Contacts list and tossed; the recipe can be found online or can be photographed and kept in your favorite digital program i.e.; Evernote, the coupon is likely expired because it was forgotten; the to-do list is no longer relevant; and the receipts should be reviewed to see whether any impact taxes or should be kept for proof of ownership–most likely the receipts will be eliminated too.
From this example, you can also discern real file categories that might be needed, instead of the MISC label: Contacts, Recipes, Coupons, Receipts, Vital Records, etc. If something is important enough to keep, then it really should be important enough to have a category that won’t create a bottomless, mismatched pile.
So give it a try–attack one of your miscellaneous stacks and see what you come up with! Start by eliminating what isn’t needed/expired. Then apply categories to the items that remain and assign a better labeled home. Let us know how it went!

Get Organized Columbus

By Tera Harmon 16 Jan, 2018
Ever have that feeling after your home has been cleaned that things still don't seem put away and tidy? Or maybe you get that nagging sense when you walk into a room that things still need a "once over." Even in frequently-cleaned homes, we can feel like there is more to do when our clutter is the first thing that catches our eye in each room. Well the clutter itself may not be the only culprit. Our house habits can help highlight the things we use in a way that is not flattering.  Can you recognize any of these hotspots in your home?
By Tera Harmon 08 Jan, 2018
Photo Credit: Jay Wennington
By Birdie Brennan 04 Dec, 2017
Photo Credit: Kari Shea
By Tera Harmon 27 Nov, 2017
I always look forward to this cooler time of year to review coats and to decide where best to donate them. So many times when we hear about making a donation, we feel pressure to give financially. But giving something once owned and loved can be a fulfilling part of holiday tradition. I especially love involving kids so they can learn the idea of thinking of others at this time of year. Showing our kids how to prepare an item for donation teaches them how to care for others, but it also shows them to consider how their belongings can be useful beyond their own toy box. The act of cleaning up a gently used truck or putting new batteries into a remote control car to donate demonstrates to kids that our items are valuable to others--and that condition matters. This donation ritual is also an important purge ritual before the influx of contents that are about to enter our homes. 
By Tera Harmon 16 Nov, 2017

For even the most novice cooks, between now and the end of the year, many kitchens are about to get a workout. We may be hosting parties, holiday meals, trying a new recipe or two, participating in pot lucks, or baking with friends and family. Would't it be great if everything we need is at our fingertips--clean and functional for when we need it?


So often the tools and items we rely on at this time of year are somewhere in the back of cupboards, sideboards, or stored on basement shelving. I recommend gathering, cleaning, and staging the items you know will be needed in the coming weeks. In last week's post ( https://www.getorganizedcolumbus.com/the-ready-made-pantry ) we talked about a well-stocked pantry for the holiday season; for now, let's focus on the items we will likely need in the kitchen and dining areas.
More Posts

Get Organized Columbus

By Tera Harmon 16 Jan, 2018
Ever have that feeling after your home has been cleaned that things still don't seem put away and tidy? Or maybe you get that nagging sense when you walk into a room that things still need a "once over." Even in frequently-cleaned homes, we can feel like there is more to do when our clutter is the first thing that catches our eye in each room. Well the clutter itself may not be the only culprit. Our house habits can help highlight the things we use in a way that is not flattering.  Can you recognize any of these hotspots in your home?
By Tera Harmon 08 Jan, 2018
Photo Credit: Jay Wennington
By Birdie Brennan 04 Dec, 2017
Photo Credit: Kari Shea
By Tera Harmon 27 Nov, 2017
I always look forward to this cooler time of year to review coats and to decide where best to donate them. So many times when we hear about making a donation, we feel pressure to give financially. But giving something once owned and loved can be a fulfilling part of holiday tradition. I especially love involving kids so they can learn the idea of thinking of others at this time of year. Showing our kids how to prepare an item for donation teaches them how to care for others, but it also shows them to consider how their belongings can be useful beyond their own toy box. The act of cleaning up a gently used truck or putting new batteries into a remote control car to donate demonstrates to kids that our items are valuable to others--and that condition matters. This donation ritual is also an important purge ritual before the influx of contents that are about to enter our homes. 
More Posts
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