Each year MPOW has a Clean Sweep Day. Everyone participates. This intentional day solves two problems: employees who will never clean (not my job!) and employees who are overly zealous about cleanliness and therefore prone to griping about said slovenly workers. Everyone can set aside one day for cleaning.
I contend that librarians are in a particular pickle because we don't like throwing things away and yet how can one work in an environment which is too messy? "A place for everything and everything in its place," is wonderful guideline. One of the reasons to keep librarians is to provide policies about just where that place is (digital or print or both) and the procedures for putting everything in its place. However, your own office may suffer because it is too personal.
So once a year, I stop, go through files, gulp, and throw. We have also started applying this Clean sweep to digital material. Now I know that there is no real reason for culling digital material because we have enough space to handle it all. Right? Right? But without some sense of order even keyword doesn't retrieve a particular file. And I remember trying to decipher the files my predecessor left.
Unfortunately, one day doesn't suffice. Now that I'm in the mood, I've turned to looking at my e-mail accounts - If you must keep, at least set up files for better retrieval. I have started removing accounts over a year old.
I generally apply the rule of 3: do not touch any item more than 3 times. Either, take action, toss, or assign. And just where do all those paper clips come from? (There was also a short science fiction story about paper clips, hangers, and alien--and you don't want to know the rest unless you can tell me the name of the story.)
Archive, Archive, Archive -- Files at least. If I think it may be valuable for posterity, it goes there for someone else to sort.
Bundle your del.icio.us tags. Definitely will be working on that.
e-w-w-w- a wad of gum in the desk drawer!
At the end, reward yourself with this because the Vertical Files are next.