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  • Writer's pictureJen Bedard

How Does Your Filing System Stack up?

Updated: Jan 21, 2023

You would think that by using a filing cabinet or a number of them, that you are already organized. Well, as it turns out, even filing cabinets get overloaded with things that end up creating clutter. Let’s break it down for a moment. If you put a stack of items in a filing cabinet and close the drawer, things look pretty neat, right? Many of us are guilty of this and over time, the small pile of items jammed into a filing cabinet becomes a huge pile. Here are some of my favourite tips to prevent that from happening or to correct your current kerfuffle.

1 – The System

The first thing you need to do to straighten out your filing cabinet is to create a system that you intend to use for your files. It may sound far too basic, but the system you devise will be personalized to your needs. For example, you could file items by month. Then in each month you can break the system down further to include invoices, expenses, revenues and whatever else your little heart desires.

2 – The List

Once you decide on the actual filing system you are going to use, you need to make a list and check it twice. This list will be for all the files you intend to put into your system. Use a piece of paper and a writing instrument because you’ll want to use this list for the naming of those files as well. You can keep the names as general or basic as desired or be super specific; After all, it’s your system.

3 – The Miscellaneous Files

It’s going to happen, and this is where your list will really come in handy. If you end up with any duplicate files in your system, now is the time to catch them and amalgamate them. Sure, you could always have one file labeled ‘Miscellaneous’ but be careful that you don’t use that as a catch all file for things you could file elsewhere or otherwise toss in the trash.

4 – The Added Touch

Who says filing cabinets need to be boring? Go ahead and have some fun with your project. It is always a good idea to inject some personality into these things. If you have young children, let them colour on the file folders you will eventually use in your filing cabinet or add some flair by painting your filing cabinet or decorating it with magnetic doodads.

5 – The Filing Part

Once you’ve sorted everything out of your filing cabinet (Hint: tackle just one drawer at a time), now is the time to place your new, personalized folders in the cabinet and to fill them up with the documents you’ve already sorted to coincide with you newly devised filing system. You’ll find that once the job is done, you’ll be able to locate information quicker and easier.

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