Organizing Paper Files
With it being the new year, and tax day approaching quickly, I was VERY determined to get our paper files organized this year!
Maybe you’ve stumbled upon this blog post because you too are determined to organize your paper files. Or maybe you’ve stumbled upon this post and already have a system in place! Whichever reason brought you here, I hope you find something helpful. I won’t talk (errrr type) long, because I don’t want to distract you, but I want to share a few tips for you before you get started!
At the end of this post I will have a FREE Paper Filing Organization printable for you to use!
A few tips before you begin:
- GATHER INSPIRATION + IDEAS FROM SEVERAL PLACES
So although I put this blog and organization list together for you to use, I would HIGHLY encourage you to pull ideas from multiple sources! Just because this system works for me and my family, does not mean it will work perfectly for you. We all have different families and different things that happen in our lives so our systems will all look a little unique.
Here are other sources I would recommend (and that I have used) to get inspiration from:
3 Steps to Organized Files – Space For Living Organizing
File Cabinet Cheat Sheet – Our Balanced Mess
- DEDICATE YOUR TIME
I won’t lie, this can be a very daunting and long process! Be sure you dedicate your time.
- PURCHASE YOUR MATERIALS
This step will give you the start you need! Make sure you have a filing cabinet, drawer, or other system to place your files. Then, order hanging file folders and file folder inserts! Make sure you measure your filing cabinet so you be sure to buy the correct size materials! Purchase yourself a label maker!!!!!! Although this is not mandatory, IT IS HIGHLY ENOCURAGED!! I don’t know what I’d do without my label maker! LOL
HANGING FILE FOLDERS
FILE FOLDER DIVIDERS
- INCLUDE FAMILY MEMBERS
If you are going to go through all the effort to make your organization system, please include your spouse! My husband is by no means into organization like I am, but he is learning to use the systems I have created in order to make our lives easier. (Key word, LEARNING, lol.) Once your spouse or other family members are on board, then they feel included and can utilize the files just like you intend. If your spouse or other family members are really having a hard time using the system, make it easy for them and create a designated *LANDING* spot for important documents. Things like medical bills, checks, or other receipts can all be placed in this designated spot. I have a spot like this in our kitchen where my husband knows to look or place things that are important! Although he might not nicely walk to the filing cabinet every time something needs filed, if he leaves it in the “LANDING ZONE”, I can simply just grab the stack of papers that need filing and do it on my own.
- GET TO ORGANIZING!
Obviously the most important step! Once you have all your materials, go in to a large open area so you can spread papers out and make piles, and begin a “rough” organize. GO THROUGH EVERY PIECE OF PAPER. Create a “shred” area for you to place papers that can be trashed and shredded. You don’t want to immediately through things away because you may need to check with your spouse that these are actually ones that can be trashed! When I began organizing the papers into piles, I used sticky notes to label them and created my own method to the madness. This step will really be up to you in how you actually organize it! So, good luck to you and happy organizing!
Click the photo below to print or screenshot!