Paper organization systems can become incredibly hard to manage if they are not carefully planned before they are implemented. While planning out your strategy for organizing files isn’t necessarily a fun or easy task, it will save you major headaches in the future, and is worth investing time in. Below, we’ve compiled a list to help make the process a little easier. See what we think the best way to organize files is!
Tips for Organizing Files
Using a color-coded folder system to organize your files will help you create a visual hierarchy that is easy to recognize at a quick glance. Being able to quickly differentiate paperwork by category can save you time in finding what you need.
However, don’t make the mistake of creating categories that are too specific, or you’ll end up with so many folders that you’ll forget about some of them, and will spend too much time trying to find each folder. Start your color-coordinated system with a few broad categories.
Invest in Good-Quality Filing Cabinets
Filing cabinets made with subpar materials will cause stress and frustration in many ways. They will break down quickly under the strain as your files become larger and heavier, and require you to repair or replace them frequently. Poor-quality filing cabinets can also be difficult to open, which may only be a small annoyance each time it comes into play, but can lead to feelings of frustration that build up over the long run.
Don’t make work into more work by opting for the cheapest option. Your filing cabinet should help you, not create more problems for you.
Create a Filing Habit
When you first create your filing system, you may put off actually filing your paperwork until “later.” However, later rarely comes if you do not put a system into place that defines when “later” is, and if you wait too long, filing will become a long and daunting process. This could put you off to the idea of filing in the future, making for a vicious cycle of disorganization and lost paperwork.
On the other hand, if you file papers away as you finish with them, each instance of filing will take only a moment and will be very easy. Creating a filing habit will make your system much more enjoyable and functional.
Make Time to Clean Out Old Files
Chances are, the paperwork you need this week, month, or year, isn’t paperwork you’ll need a year from now. Building time into your schedule to cull through old files once a quarter, once a year, or whenever it makes sense for your needs, will keep your files from becoming cluttered with paperwork that is no longer useful to you.