Friday, October 29, 2010

Things of the Past

Time to clear out the dusty and old, to make room for the new. Today, I am looking at how to handle past office and business material. Business owners who have been in business for over 10 years, know that the material starts to acquire. This is especially true if you haven't changed your office location in over 5 years. The following might help you when clearing out the past from your office.

Non Serving Usage
Outdated expired, no longer relevant items come to mind. I ran across a hidden pile of blank outdated forms. These found a home in the recycling bin.

Former Client Files and Material
If you have been in business a while, it is likely you understand the value of record retention. I have a five year client policy. However sometimes material is a useful template or example for other things. This is where a template vs. a client file becomes of value. Transitioning files over to templates, maintains your record retention plan and helps you understand the importance of what you have learned, created or observed.

Example/Template Files 
Even example or template files can become overwhelming or overfilled. Periodic clearings can help prevent overload.   

Aging Technology
I recently disposed of a plethora of floppy disks containing financial information. Of course, I had to make them unusable first - this took time. Some never used disks I donated to my community through freecycle.

Historical Reminders
Not all old items are unwanted. I ran across an old newsletter from an association that had a wealth of memories, and brought up a few "I need to call that person" notes to add to my to do list. After I added that, it was easy to toss the material. Sometimes I found information that was useful for my business time line. So I placed that in my time line pile. Stay tune for more on this in the next few months.

Historically Significant
Occasionally you may run across some items of ephemera, that might be of value to your community or business community. It helps to understand the concept of ephemera. Check out my article on my website for information on this topic.   

By keeping the above in mind, you may have an easier time of clearing out. Business Anniversaries are a cause for celebration, and a good time to make time to clear out the past, to make room for the new.

October is Terry Prince's business anniversary month. Terry started her business in October of 1983.


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