What to do with all that stuff

I am trying to go through my office, my home office, and garage to figure out what magazines and journals to keep, what books I still need to keep on hand, any software that might help my teachers, and paper files. I even have a closet in my laundry dedicated to older versions of software and videos. Now really – do I need these or not?

Since I write, I felt I needed to keep digital files and back up copies of articles. But do I really have time to digitize older articles and lessons.

So here’s what I am starting to do and maybe it will help you if you are a collector like me. I put together four bags or boxes labeled "Toss," "Review," "Keep," and "Donate."


  • Any journals or magazines two years or older – or sooner if the magazine archives articles on its Website.
  • Software that is over five years old, runs from floppy disks, or does not contain the documentation or registration information.
  • Paper that you have not touched for two years.


  • Files you created to determine what to toss or keep.
  • Journals or magazines two years or newer to which you might want to refer. Check to see if the article you want is on the magazine’s Website.
  • Books
  • Software that contains documentation and installation CDs.


  • Any of the software you reviewed but cannot use yourself.
  • Books that you have already read and may not need again. (check with your local library or your school about donations of books)


  • Books that you will want to use as reference, as part of a book club, or want to read again.
  • Software that you use or can use with your teachers.
  • Files that are organized (see next tip).

Next Tip: Organizing Your Paper Filing System