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Too Much Stuff?

Let it go . . . six ways to keep home office possessions from owning you

Who's in charge--you or your possessions? Take a few minutes to calculate how much time, money and emotion you waste on equipment, reference materials and information you no longer use. A quick check of figures should make it easy for you to toss, donate or, better yet, recycle any unnecessary items floating around your office.

Are you using outdated equipment or old versions of computer programs? Calculate how much time you're wasting using slow equipment and programs with limited capabilities. Computer prices are falling daily, so determine what your time is worth and whether you can afford to waste time each day using unproductive equipment and software.

Don't get caught up in information overload and the need to keep every magazine, newsletter and newspaper you receive. If you know you'll never read something, get rid of it. If you ever need an article from a past issue of a publication, you can often get it online or via that old standby, the library's microfilm collection.

Fight the fear of purging. Don't fear you'll need something again, the minute you throw out or give it away. Keep in mind that if you have too much in your office, when you need something really important, you may not be able to find it.

Not everything has to be "used up." You replaced your IBM Selectric long ago with a computer, yet can't bare to part with the old clunker. If you're still using a typewriter to complete forms, consider replacing it with a scanner. Then you can scan the form, complete it on your computer and print it.

And finally, think before you buy. Do you really need one more file cabinet, desk or piece of equipment? Don't give in to impulse. You'll reduce time spent shopping, save money that could be spent elsewhere and eliminate aggravation over what to do later with an unnecessary purchase.

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