Filing Basics that Make a Difference

You know that there are some papers that you need to keep. You may even have some of those papers but be unsure where they are located. Let’s start preparing to house these papers in a way that make them easy to file and retrieve.

Let’s talk about how to prepare the file storage. Below are some questions to ask. Please don’t skip this important step as answering these questions can make a difference as to whether or not you will set up and maintain your home files.

  • Do you prefer all hanging folders, all manila folders, or manila folders inside of hanging folders?
  • Does color coding enhance or impede the ability to locate files? If color is helpful in file location, which piece(s) would you like to color code (hanging files, manila files, hanging tabs, manila labels, etc.)?
  • Do you prefer the files to be set up with all the tabs in one position, for example, all to the left? Or do you prefer your tabs to alternate, for example, left, middle, right?
  • Do you like the files to be labeled using words or numbers?
  • Do you prefer to handwrite labels, generate them on a computer, or use a label maker?
  • Do you tend to think in categories?
  • Will you need a file index to help you locate the documents or will your labels “do the trick”?
  • How many people will be accessing these files? The more people that need access to the files, the more preferences need to be considered when answering the above questions.

Since many people like to consider papers according to categories, let’s briefly consider some possible categories. For instance, you might have a financial category, which would include records related to bank accounts, credit cards, taxes, financial planning, utilities, etc. There might also be a personal category, which could house all papers related to your home, vehicle, medical records, insurance, education, employment, vital records, etc. In addition, one category could be lifestyle. Papers in this category could include hobbies, pets, travel, decorating ideas, social activities, etc. You could choose to name the categories differently or to have more categories. In the end, it really doesn’t matter what categories you choose or how you decide to name your folders. What counts is what “name” you will think of when you go to retrieve the piece of paper.

Time to spend a few minutes answering the questions! Then put a plan together to start bringing order to your papers.

Janice is available to speak throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, including Atlanta, Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Denver, London, New York City, Montreal, Ontario, Paris, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland (OR), Salt Lake City, San Francisco, St. Louis, Seattle, Vancouver, Washington, D.C., and the Triangle area of North Carolina (including Apex, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Fayetteville, Morrisville, and Raleigh).

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