Quiz: are you a hoarder?

In our line of work, we come across a lot of hoarders. They acquire stuff – all sorts of stuff – and find it incredibly difficult to get rid of. Especially paperwork, for some reason. They wouldn’t call themselves hoarders, of course. But they are.

That’s why we thought we’d put together this little quiz to help you identify whether you have hoarding tendencies or not. After all, they say that recognising a problem is the first step towards recovery…

1. There’s a sale on lever arch files at Staples. Do you:

a) Not buy any – you’ve got enough for now.
b) Get a couple to keep as spares in the stock room.
c) Buy the lot – it’s a great bargain and you never know when they’ll come in handy.

2. How long do you keep your paperwork?

a) Only as long as we legally have to, then it gets destroyed.
b) A few years, probably – I’d need to check.
c) Proud to say we have it all! Whatever you need, I can find it… if you give me enough notice.

3. Your team gives you a hideous “executive desktop gift” for your birthday – what do you do?

a) Pass it on to someone else immediately.
b) Display it on my desk for a few weeks then subtly get rid of it.
c) Treasure it forever – it’s the thought that counts, right?

4. Where do you store your archives?

a) Online – we went paperless<link to post on paperless office> months ago.
b) We’ve got a neat stack of archive boxes in the storeroom.
c) Let’s see, there’s the filing cabinets in the office, and then the storeroom, and the loft space, and there might be a couple of boxes under the stairs…

5. Your boss asks you to tidy your desk – how do you feel?

a) Are you sure they mean my desk? There’s nothing on it.
b) Um, yeah I’ve been busy recently, I really do need to straighten it up a bit.
c) But I have a system!! Honestly, I need all of it, if I could just show you…

6. How easy is it for you to find a file you need?

a) Simple – it’s all catalogued digitally so anyone can find anything they need in moments.
b) Pretty easy – the last office administrator we had set up a good system. It’s been a bit trickier since she left but we’re getting there.
c) Um, well we can usually find most things – certainly the stuff we use every day… eventually.

7. What does your bottom desk drawer contain right now?

a) The bottom one is empty – I only use the top one for stationery.
b) Job files that are waiting to be archived.
c) A couple of files, a few unopened letters, three pens with lids, an out of date Cup-a-Soup, several paperclips, a box of tomato ketchup sachets, two dozen fluffy elastic bands… oh and look, the paperback I started last year!

8. How do you dispose of data you no longer need?

a) We recycle, shred, incinerate or degauss<link to secure destruction services page>, depending on what it is.
b) We’ve got a couple of locked skips out back that get taken away once a month or so.
c) No longer need? I’m not sure what you’re talking about; I need all of it.

The results

Mostly As

Congratulation, you are the Master of Minimalism! You understand the value of your physical space and know exactly how best to manage, store and safely dispose of your data.

Mostly Bs

You’re doing an admirable job of trying to keep the clutter at bay, but you’re lacking the systems to help you do it. Although you’re not quite a hoarder, you’re definitely in need of some help.

Mostly Cs

Oh dear. No two ways about it. You gather stuff like a magpie and have little capacity for getting rid of it, even if it’s no longer useful. It’s time to admit it – you’re definitely a hoarder.

So, how did you do? If you landed up in the B or C category, don’t worry – we can help. Give us a call today and we’ll have a chat about how we can reduce your clutter, free up space, safely dispose of unwanted data and store or digitise the rest.

And if you’re an A – well, you might want to come and work for us! You’d be right at home here.

7 steps to a paperless office

As resources go, paper is pretty simple. Fantastically useful though, don’t you think? Except it’s bulky. Not one sheet on it’s own, of course. But pile together hundreds of them and you can see how offices quickly get cluttered.

Also, paper comes from trees and there are only so many trees out there at any given time. Which means that wasting this particular resource, simple as it may be, is something of a no-no if you want to maintain your environmental credibility.

For both of these reasons, the idea of a paperless office has been growing increasingly trendy in recent years. If you’re not on board with the idea yet, here are a few ways to get started.

1) DECIDE TO GO PAPERLESS

This may seem like a very unnecessary place to start, but the fact is that unless you make a conscious commitment to go paperless nothing’s really going to change. If you set a big goal like ‘completely paperless’ then even a significant reduction would be a great achievement. You’ll also need to put a little bit of thought into how you communicate this new venture to your team because, let’s face it, we all know how most people feel about change.

2) REIGN IN YOUR PRINTING

See, this is a key example of where you’ll need everyone to be working towards the same goal. It’s no use getting your bills and bank statements sent electronically if the company is going through several reams of A4 every day printing off stuff that really doesn’t need to be printed. Why not add management controls to your printer, giving individuals their own logins and then keeping an eye on who the wasters are? While you’re at it, set all computers up to automatically print double sided. Our friends at Prolific Solutions can help you with all that stuff.

3) CHOOSE E-SIGNING SOFTWARE

Ok, we hear you say, but some documents simply have to be printed. Like stuff that needs to be signed. Well actually, that’s not true. There is software out there that means you can now sign documents without the need for paper or pen. And it’s just as legal as the traditional method. Just ask local Bristol firm, Signable.

4) SWITCH NOTEBOOKS FOR LAPTOPS

Do you and your team take notes when you go to meetings? What do you use? If the answer is notebooks, you’re creating a whole stack of needless paper bulk right there. What’s wrong with a laptop, tablet or SMART phone. Synching electronic notes to the Cloud also means you’ll never have to worry about leaving your important briefing notes on the train.

5) GET FEEDBACK VIA TABLET

You know those feedback sheets you hand out at workshops, networking events and the like? Not necessary. By switching over to a digital feedback system – even something as simple as a SurveyMonkey questionnaire loaded on a tablet – you’d not only save paper but also data entry time. Far easier to get the respondents to enter their thoughts directly into handy tablets.

6) USE FILE SHARING SOFTWARE

There’s no need for multiple copies of the same file to be printed off for different people to work on. Not only is it confusing (“The latest draft? Um, well I think it’s the one Bob was working on yesterday…”) it’s also a waste of paper. Google Docs, Trello and other file sharing systems are far more efficient.

7) DIGITISE YOUR PAPER ARCHIVE

This is probably the single most important step you can take to reduce the bulk of paper stored in your office – which, incidentally, is costing you money in rented office space. Wouldn’t it be better to have a digital archive, cleverly indexed and so easy to search it will make you wonder why you didn’t do it years ago? (Hint: the answer is yes, it really would be better). Any originals still needed could then be stored off site, and the rest securely destroyed.

If you’re serious about creating a paperless office, get in touch to find out how we can help with storage, scanning and secure destruction of all paper documents.

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