Do you have a cluttered filing cabinet that makes it impossible to find anything? It might be time to reorganise it. Creating a filing system can seem overwhelming, but a little time spent today will save you a lot of time in the long run, as you’ll be able to find things so much more easily. Use these five filing cabinet organisation tips to revolutionise your filing experience. Paper clutter will soon be a thing of the past!
1. Design Your Filing System
This might surprise you, but you don’t have to use a filing cabinet for all your filing needs. Perhaps you want to use 4-ring folders instead, or a covered plastic tote box, or even a suitcase. The most important thing is that your files are kept away from dust, are easy to categorise and find, and won’t get folded, crinkled or crushed.
If you do choose to go the traditional route with a filing cabinet, you can use hanging file folders, manila folders, or even plastic see-through folders. You can also label your folders in a variety of ways, using thick black markers, label makers or sticker labels. Just make sure you choose your filing system based on what you’ll actually be likely to use and find most convenient. For visual appeal, it makes sense to choose a filing system that’s consistent, as mixing styles can look untidy.
2. Choose How to Organise
How do you want to organise the files in your filing cabinet? Will you do it alphabetically or numerically? You might choose to categorise documents via type, project, company, subject, life area or due date. Choose the method of organisation that will make it easiest to find your files.
3. Make a List of Your Files & Gather Your Supplies
Now that you’ve decided how you’re going to organise your documents in categories, make a comprehensive list of all file categories. Try to avoid having a catch-all miscellaneous file, as that can quickly lead to a file that’s bursting at the seams. Gather your supplies, whether you’re using hanging file folders or some other way of keeping your documents together. Grab your labels and get ready to reorganise!
4. Label Your New Folders
Use your list as a guide that spells out all your categories and start labelling your new folders. Using pencil can be a neater way of doing things, especially if you want to reuse folders later on. If you want to get fancy, you can colour code your folders, but if that feels too hard, you can use a more basic system for your filing cabinet.
5. Clean Out Your Old Files
Take a look through your papers, and be thorough. It’s easier to organise less paperwork than more paperwork in your filing cabinet. The more you throw out, the less you need to file, and the more streamlined your filing system will be. Once you’ve cleaned out any inessential files, pop your documents in your named category files. In this process, make sure you don’t throw out anything important like tax documents or personal identification documents. It’s a good idea to do this last clear-out step once every 3 to 6months to keep your files nice and tidy.