Make the Most of Your Time By Getting Rid of Duplicates

posted in: Time Management 0

Are you looking to declutter in your home and office? Image of a man removing a book from a bookshelf and the phrase, Make the Most of Your Time By Getting Rid of Duplicates

Tired of wasting entire afternoons looking for, or using something, only to learn the item you’ve been dealing with is the wrong one?

In this post, I offer a clever way to “give” yourself some more time, that is, disposing of, or consolidating duplicate items.

Now, this isn’t to say there won’t be any time investment involved.

You’ll have to put up some of your time to process things.

Once your initial time investment is complete, you won’t have to worry about wasted hours, or days, dealing with duplicate items.

Wondering how duplicates can waste your time?

It’s pretty simple, really.

Duplicate items:

Make you work harder.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, a duplicate item doubles your work.

For example, if you pull a file from the filing cabinet that looks eerily similar to the one that’s one your desk, you’ll have to stop what you’re doing to reconcile your records.

You’ll have to check, and double-check everything to make sure you have up to date and correct materials.

Take up more space.

Select any number of items, multiply them by two, and you’ve got twice the amount of stuff.

While duplicates of one item may seem harmless enough, consider for a moment what multiple duplicates will do for a single filing cabinet, room, closet, or office.

That’s a lot of extra stuff you’ve got to deal with in your daily routines, no?

Can cause problems with others.

You tell one of your co-workers to update a certain computer file. They tell you they’ve found it, and are updating it, but when you go to review the file, you realize they’ve updated the wrong one. Oh, dear…

Duplicates can not only cause frustrations, but they can cost you time and money at work, and home, and can put a perfectly good relationship on the rocks.

So, what’s to be done? Well, finding and getting rid of some duplicates in your home or work area is a good start. Here’s what to:

Make a list of known duplicates in your home or office.

Take a moment to think about any duplicates you’ve come across over the past few days, weeks, and months.

Maybe you’re aware of a pair of factory-packed egg slicers in your kitchen, or two small wastebaskets sitting in your office closet.

If you’re having a tough time coming up with items, try opening a few drawers, closets, or containers, and doing a quick scan.

Do any duplicates jump out at you?

Check the usual suspects.

Having a difficult time coming up with duplicates?

Check out this brief list of items.

Who knows, reading the below list might trigger your memory of a long-forgotten duplicate item you’ve been meaning to get rid of for the past year.

  • Small kitchen appliances
  • Cleaning supplies and products
  • Books
  • Paper files
  • Kitchen gadgets
  • Clothing
  • Garden or yard tools
  • Spices
  • Computer files
  • Craft materials and supplies
  • Electronic devices

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Make a decision as to what you’ll do with a duplicate.

Once you’ve uncovered any duplicates, it’s time to create a game plan. Here’s a rough guide to help you out.

Paper files – Open up the duplicate items and go through all papers and materials, slowly and carefully. It will take some time to identify things, but it’s worth it. You don’t want to accidentally throw away something you need!

Computer files – You can open up files manually to check for duplicates, or you can do an online search for a duplicate file program or app to help with the process. Again, you’ll have to make certain you’re not getting rid of any information that’s needed.

Small kitchen appliances/Electronic devices – First, check to see if the item actually works. Generally speaking, if it’s broken, it’s probably not worth keeping. If the item works, you may want to give it away to a friend, or family member, or donate it to a charity group.

Cleaning supplies and products, books, kitchen gadgets, clothing, garden or yard tools, spices, craft materials and supplies…and everything else – Okay, you’ve two choices here. The first choice is to donate duplicate items to a charity or other organization.

The second choice is a bit more involved. Let’s say you’ve got a stash of unopened cleaning supplies, or craft ribbon and tape. You don’t want to donate or dispose of these items, and you’re not going to use them right away, so what should you do?

Do yourself a favor and move these items into a separate container or space in your home. You might want to label the container or area “Duplicates,” or “Extra,” or “Spares.”

This is a simple move, but the idea here is to get the duplicates out of your way, so you’re not tripping over things, or using two opened items at the same time. Finish what you already have opened, then dip into your duplicate supplies only when you need them.
How about you? What type of duplicate items tend to wreak havoc in your home or office? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
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