Here is a thought I had on dealing with rarely used bulky items around the house that you want/need, like soldering irons, your harmonica, your spare camera, etc. This is the kind of stuff you would ideally want you to trash, because you never use it- But these things are _expensive_, and you'll kick yourself a year later if you no longer have such items when you need them...
Here's why such items are so difficult to put into a storage/reference system:
1. They cannot be put into an orderly row of labeled files because of their size/shape
2. Only a few items can fit into a single container (compared with paper records)
3. If you use an alphabetical system (based on topic/project/person/company) you would constantly have to shuffle items between containers in order to maintain the system, due to space limitations.
My idea is to treat all your paper GTD reference items and bulk objects as part of the same "reference" bucket. When an paper or physical object needs to be placed into "reference" use the following algorithm:
- If it is a paper item, just place it into the reference file in the standard GTD manner in a standard folder (i.e. a phone bill goes under "phone" in the reference).
- If it is a physical, non-flat object:
1. Attach a unique number label to it (start with 1, 2, 3, etc.)
2. Throw the item into an empty storage bin.
3. Put a paper note in the paper reference file (i.e. a funky phone adapter gets a paper note under the "phone" reference file with its unique number on it)
4. Keep putting the next items in the same bin
5. Once the bin is full, put a label on the bin with the numbers it contains
6. Start a new bin
Since new items always go into the newest bin, you never have to shuffle items between bins to keep the order correct. The only time you'd have to shuffle items between bins is once a year or so when you clean out the bins for things that have been obsoleted. My idea ain't brain surgery (and may not be new, for all I know), but sounds like a useful refinement on the face of it...
Comments? Suggestions? Critiques? What do you think?