As mentioned in a previous blog post, there are numerous types of filing systems you can use. In my 25 years of organizing, I have not had one client have exactly the same type of filing system or method. We are all human beings with different perceptions, different jobs or ‘stuff’, and different needs. Therefore, every filing system must be considered thoroughly before implementing it.
Obviously, we all know that it is important to have a good filing system. It saves us time, stress, productivity, and is imperative to run a good business or home. Start as you mean to go on.
Things filed can be put in numerous ‘containers’. You may buy a filing cabinet, a filing box, a bankers’ box, or even a bin of some sort. I had a special box built by barnboyfurniture.com that doubles as a table and a filing box. Something like this is great for small homes.
There are numerous ways to file, but remember FIRST to determine your categories, like we did with all of the ‘stuff’ in your office. Some people like to have broad categories, and some like to sub-categorize endlessly. There is no right way to categorize, as long as you know where things are.
*keep in mind that if you sub-categorize in great detail, it is often helpful to have a key laminated in the front of each drawer so if someone needs to find a file, they can estimate about where that topic will fall in each drawer.
After you have determined your categories, you need to decide a general system you will use. Some suggestions are:
1. File in Alphabetical Order (first name, last name, company name, or however else YOU remember it)
2. File according to importance or priorities
3. File according to category– and alphabetize within (Marketing, Sales, Clients, Health are some categories. Names of clients are w/in Client Category)
4. Color coding according to topic, name, or priority
5. File by place, geographical location, or size of client or job
6. File according to dates or Chronologically
7. File numerically (assign a number to a category)
Some things to be weary of:
* too many folder
*too many categories
* hard to read labels
* overstuffed folders
* too many colors, or mixing colors
Remember, as with anything, you MUST maintain your files. It is easiest to do this as papers come in. That said, I have clients that prefer to do it once a year.
Remember, these are your files. There is not just one way to file. The most important thing: That you can find it- OR someone else who needs to access your files can find it.
* if you are interested in learning more about filing, or you are interested in a career of PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZING, please go to: