3rd Step Continued: Clean work top
Third Step Continued: Where to Start?
Have you ever faced a chore — and let’s face it, if your desk looks even remotely like mine [see prior post], straightening the mess out is a chore. So-o-o-o-o, have you ever faced a chore where you just stood wondering where to even start.
Personally I think this is one of the BIG secrets of professionals who are hired to cleanup any kind of mess — including genealogy. A professional may be dismayed at what they are seeing but they know two things we amateur “Mess-iens” don’t know: (1) where to start and (2) what to do!
When we don’t know where to start, we waste time doing bits here and there but really accomplishing little. So here we go…
Start with a clean “desk” top – or at least mostly clean.
Your “desk” top = your “work” top.
Your “work” top = your “desk” top
whether you have a real desk or not.
- Put any genealogy papers in a stack. If they can be put in the right folder, do so. If not, then at least get the genealogy hard copies in one stack. Do NOT READ the papers. Identify it as genealogy & add to the stack. Stay focused.
- For me a surname folder contains papers, etc. that are associated with that surname. A folder will rarely contain an original artifact. Therefore, if I have a print-out that pertains to a specific surname,I can just add it to the front or back of the folder.The goal is that content in the folder will be entered into the appropriate database after verification. I also have some county/state folders.
- Shred and/or throw away junk mail.
- Toss any catalog that is (a) not recent and (b) you will never buy anything from it. If is particularly fascinating, how about making it ‘bathroom’ reading.[pullquote position="right"]Catalogs are like rabbits. They multiply. Any holiday increases the flow rate into your house.[/pullquote]
- Keep catalogs that are useful. [As time goes by, you will probably find yourself tossing more and more of these.]
- Books & magazines – put on a shelf or in a drawer. Genealogy magazines should (could) be “stacked” or in folders in month/year order with all like magazines together.
- Why? Because who wants to look through 2 or 3 years of magazines for that article you just saw a “couple of months”. By putting all “Family Tree” magazines together in month/year older, you can find the article fairly quickly.
- Anything on your “desktop” that needs to be somewhere else in the house – remove it from your area…your “office”. It would be better to go put it up right then *if* you know where it belongs.
Your goal: to have a work top that
isn’t covered from one side to the other with “stuff”.
Which do I do first?
It does not matter.
It only matters that you have backed up your database & have compacted it–those are *MUST DO’s*. And that you have a fairly clean desk|work top. For example, if you have a wood desk, you should be able to see what color the wood is without having to look at the sides or front of the desk.
Do you have to have a clean work area before proceeding to database cleanup? No, but I truly believe you’ll make more progress if your desk|work top does not reflect the messiness of your data.Share