Staring at a huge stack of receipts, or maybe bills that need handled?
When you organize your files so that they’re easily found and accessed, you’ll maximize your productivity and efficiency.
Here are some tips on how to set up an effective filing system in your home office.
Choose the categories you need
Begin by assessing the categories that fit.
To put it another way, identify all the areas of your life where you receive the most paper work and determine whether they are worthy of being filed under a specific category.
Spend 5 minutes thinking about all the different types of paper you accumulate and need to maintain regularly and jot them down.
If you’re having trouble deciding how to organize your personal documents and other documents, consider the following major home file system categories:
- ⬥Personal documents: birth certificates, IDs, health records, dental records, insurance claim forms, and so on.
- ⬥Financial documents: Tax forms, bank statements, bills, investments, and retirement documents.
- ⬥Medical Records: (including medical forms, insurance forms, and health records.)
- ⬥Home documents: (mortgage, insurance forms, warranties, utilities, appliance manuals, registration numbers, and so on.)
- ⬥Family documents: (paper invitations, event tickets, family vacation documents, children’s school documents, children’s activities forms, daycare papers, children’s medical forms, homework, report cards)
- ⬥Shoppers’ products: (receipts, grocery and shopping lists, rewards cards, coupons)
- ⬥Work-related documents (business cards, contracts, expense forms, receipts, resumes, portfolio items, confidential documents, pay stubs, work benefit forms, ROEs, and so on.)
- ⬥Papers with sentimental value: children’s artwork, cards, letters, notes, and mementos
Less is more
If you need to, break the categories down even more into subcategories (for example, under “medical” you can have dental, chiropractor, allergist, etc.).
But, before you decide that you absolutely have to have a category for every single paper, think again. If you keep your categories to a bare minimum, you’ll be more likely to maintain all of that hard work you’ve done!
The next time you can easily find where to file something, you’ll be glad you followed this advice!
Because you’ve got a simple and less complicated filing system, you’ll be inclined to use it more because it’s simple and quick.
After you’ve decided on your categories, you’ll need to find a personal document organizer that suits your needs.
Consider…the smaller your file system, the less “clutter” you’ll be able to keep. It encourages you to purge more frequently so that your files don’t overflow.
Once you’ve decided on a file folder system, it’s time to label each tab, using the categories you’ve decided upon.
Then, use sticker labels you can write on to make this task faster and easier. You can even color code the border around the label to make filing a snap.
Maintaining your system
Every now and then, you’ll need to “purge” or declutter your paperwork. Most likely, you will file items that should be discarded later, such as expired coupons, old forms, old receipts, and so on.
As your life changes, you may find that you need to remove or add categories.
Weddings, home purchases, and the birth of a new child may require the creation of a temporary new category, or perhaps you are retiring and no longer require a “work” category. Whatever the case, your “categories” may evolve over time.
That’s all there is to it! You now know how to create a basic file system to organize (and maintain) all of your papers!
Tracking Important Home Documents
Ep 005 – Are You Tracking Your Home Documents?