Coming up with a good organisation system for your papers requires planning, effort and time.
It’s important to organise all your papers while there’s not too many – if you let it all pile up, you’ll end up having a major headache getting them all sorted out. Taking time and effort when developing a good organising system for your important documents can save you from unnecessary stress.
Do you have a filing cabinet inside your office or home and you’re not sure how to organise it? Organising filing cabinets may seem easy but that’s not the case. Below are several tips that can assist you to sort out those overflowing, disorganised filing cabinets.
How to File and Organise Your Filing Cabinet
1. Start simple
Create a filing system that is easy to use. Do not make your filing system more stressful as compared to the stress you are trying to avoid.
2. Be colourful
Files of different tabs or colours and labels of several colours will make your filing system much easier to navigate. It will also enable you to find different documents with ease whenever you are in a hurry.
3. Do not scrimp when you are purchasing a filing cabinet
Ensure that you buy a cabinet that is of good quality. Whenever the files get heavier and larger, their weight strains a cheap filing cabinet making it difficult for drawers to open with ease. Try to look for a cabinet that will look nice and presentable, and that suits your decor of the room.
4. Try to keep important papers where you’re sure of their safety
Keep important documents in a place that is safe but ensure that you can easily access them whenever you need them. Ensure that the following documents are kept in a safe place
- Bank account numbers
- Car information
- Credit card numbers
- Birth certificates
- Important receipts
- Insurance policies
- Marriage certificate
- Loan agreements
- Mortgage agreements
- Medical records
- PIN numbers
- Service contracts
- Tax returns for the last 7 years
Some of these documents may require separate files. For instance, important numbers can just be combined. You can photocopy the documents that you feel they are much more important. After photocopying, keep the copies in a file while you keep the originals inside a safe.
5. Avoid Over Specific Labelling
The most common mistake people make any time they are creating filing systems is that that they try coming up with very overly specific categories. For instance, a file with a title ‘Places I will never visit on Friday at 3pm’ will never fit well in a system. If you do this every time, you will exhaust your folder files and this will always give you a difficult time whenever you are looking for anything. Always start with bigger and broader categories.
6. Avoid putting all your papers inside one basket
You can have several baskets in separate categories as follows;
- To do basket
- To file basket
- To pay basket
- To read basket
You can put your ‘to pay basket’ just below the ‘to do basket’. The ‘to file basket’ should be kept below the desk as the ‘to read basket’ is kept in a separate place inside the home e.g. the study room or bedroom so that you can read them any time an opportunity arises.
7. Make filing a routine
Always find time during the week to file papers and empty the ‘to file basket’ this task doesn’t really take long. You should be through in 15-20 minutes.
8. Fine-tune later
You can look at what is inside your files at later dates. In most cases you will find files that are bulging or are unused. If you get a file that has one to two things inside the file folder, create or look out for a file that is broader in scope. On the other hand, if you get a file overflowing with papers, make subcategories, either by dates or topics.