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Too Much Stuff? Let it go . . . six ways to keep home office possessions from owning you

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

Are you using outdated equipment or old versions of computerprograms?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

Don't get caught up in information overload and the need tokeep every magazine, newsletter and newspaper you receive. If youknow you'll never read something, get rid of it. If you everneed an article from a past issue of a publication, you can oftenget it online or via that old standby, the library's microfilmcollection.

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

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

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

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