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Newbie struggling with filiing non-paper-based items

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  • Newbie struggling with filiing non-paper-based items

    I'm new to GTD and I'm struggling through my collection container. I'm a work-at-home mom and I have things in my container that are not paper-based, like a potty alarm with instructions and warranty. It doesn't require action, but I do want to hold on to it for my younger child. Where does one "file" a potty alarm for "reference/future use.?" Are there any parents out there trying to use GTD to work from home and run their household? Perhaps there is a blog out there for that? I'm really having a hard time with tools and organization and could use some tips/advice.


  • #2
    Hi there,

    Two of our community contributors come to mind that would be excellent resources for you: Meghan Wilker and April Perry. You'll find some helpful posts from both of them about applying GTD to their kids, family, home life etc. on GTD Times: (or do a search on GTD Times on their names)

    Hope that helps!


    • #3
      First need to decide whether the potty alarm should be kept with or separate from the warranty & instructions.
      Second it's not that much different to paper, you just need to think of storage containers rather than filing cabinets. If you are keeping it for the younger child, and it won't be used for quite some time, it can go into a long term storage space that doesn't get accessed much, like the roof or the top of cupboards that are hard to get to. Buy clear plastic containers, and label them. But more importantly, write up a checklist for that storage space so you can know what's in there without having to climb in the roof or pull everything out of the cupboard. Or alternatively write up a checklist for your younger child of everything you've put away for them and where it is stored.


      • #4
        You might want to check out the book "Organizing from the Inside-Out" by Julie Morgenstern. It will get you to think about organizing in a different way. Combine her advice with GTD and you've got some good strategies for keeping an organized household.


        • #5
          Designated Cabinet for Archive

          Originally posted by nmanchec View Post
          I have things in my container that are not paper-based, like a potty alarm with instructions and warranty. It doesn't require action, but I do want to hold on to it for my younger child. Where does one "file" a potty alarm for "reference/future use.?"
          At first I passed right over this because I am not a parent. Then I realized I have a lot of non-paper things in my in-box and project support as well and also struggle with where to put them. Things like the ram breeding harness, ram scrotal tape, my current knitting projects (brewery & house), tagger and tags, etc.

          For the archive/storage I designated 2 cabinets for that sort of stuff. One has longer term storage stuff (needles and syringes we buy in bulk but only need when we vaccinate the sheep, palpation sleeves and gloves for lambing, blood collection tubes, hand shears and blades, toe trimmers, sheep halters, bandage material etc.) The other contains our first aid cabinet for the animals (wormers, drugs, bloat medicine, heart worm meds for the dogs, ear tags and taggers, Nutridrench, blood stop powder etc.) Now I have a place for the stuff when it is in storage but I can get to it easily as needed.

          I am still struggling with where to store physical things when they are items needed for a current active project. My plan now is to rearrange my office. I have 3 file cabinets and I'm thinking of building or buying some cubbyhole shelves for above them where I can put the physical things related to any given active project in there and have a place to put stuff back that is not my desk when I am done working on a project. I'm thinking of using tote bags for those things that can fit in that and boxes for other types of project materials.

          For now that spot is where our office supply materials and some of my scrapbook supplies are kept. My project on this is to purge the file cabinets to create an empty drawer for office supplies, designate a new place for all scrapbook supplies, and then build or buy cubbys each about a foot square for holding current active project physical materials. It's a long term project that is moving forward very slowly. Right now it's stalled until I have several hours of time to pull everything out of one drawer and decide what I can purge from the filing system.


          • #6
            My solution

            I have a four drawer filing cabinet. I keep one of these drawers for bulkier items that I need to store until I am ready for them. I then have a project in my system that reminds me that they are stored in there. If they are short term items ie current projects they go in there. Anything that I am not ready to work on goes into longer term storage (similar to the system mentioned a few posts above) I also suggest you have a list of everything in the long term storage!


            • #7
              Containers inside containers!

              My brother says it was a big revelation when it was pointed out to him that containers could contain containers. For example, all bathroom supplies go in one closet, but the potty alarm and associated literature are in their own box. I just got back from a trip overseas, and found a little flyer saying that the TSA had chosen my bag to be opened and inspected. But it looked much the same as it did when I packed it, because i use Eagle Creek packing modules inside my suitcase. Even though it is a small carry-on, I can pack a week's worth of clothes in it, including a coat and two sweaters. When I got home last night, it took about ten minutes to unpack my suitcase, 3 minutes to dump my traveling inbox and accumulated reference materials into my inbox, and I was done with it for now. Containers inside containers are like an outline or a mind map, but for physical stuff.


              • #8
                What is it?

                A great aha for me from GTD is the "What is it?" step of processing. It may not be as obvious as it seems. It sounds like the potty alarm is also a subtle reminder of an upcoming project: Potty Training Younger Child. Is there a reminder somewhere that this project is coming? It could be in someday/maybe or on your calendar with a note about where the potty alarm is stored. That may be why it hasn't been put away before now. Some part of your brain is using the potty alarm as a reminder.

                Also, I think about where I want to find the item later so I would put it at the bottom of the diaper storage or with the potty seat that is probably stored somewhere.