Create A Filing System

Declutter your paper

We tend to hang onto old paperwork because we are afraid that if we throw something out, we will immediately need it. Am I right? Then, if we do need it we still can’t find it because it’s buried under piles of other paperwork. It’s a common dilemma.

In Day 11 we talked about dealing with your paper clutter. Were you able to pick a pile and start decluttering? If so, bravo! Then, after you decluttered did you say, “Now what?”

Know your style

If you don’t love detailed organizing, then a filing system with really micro-organized categories and rainbow-color file folders is probably not going to work for you. You may do better with a basket system that uses only broad categories.

If you are a very visual person, you may prefer to use a binder system that sits on a shelf  and/or wall mounted baskets to hold your paperwork. Pay attention to your personal organizing preferences.

A smart filing system

I have one definition for a smart filing system: One you will actually use. If you aren’t using what you currently have, then it’s probably time to switch things up.

My Ducks In A Row Course  shows you how to organize important documents into nine broad-categories. Within those nine broad categories are smaller, micro-categories. If you know you are never going to label file folders with detailed information, that’s perfectly fine! Do what works for you.

The Ducks In A Row System works with binders, bins or a filing cabinet. I choose to use a filing cabinet because I am a detailed, micro-organizer. You can take a peek inside my filing cabinet by clicking here.

Today’s assignment:

  • Continue decluttering your paper work. Important: You can’t effectively organize until you declutter. Purge and then set up a system.
  • If you are done purging, start thinking about what system would work best for you:
    • Binders, bins, wall-mounted baskets and/or a filing cabinet.
    • Micro (detailed) or Macro (broad) categories
    • Do you prefer visual (wall-mounted and shelving system) or hidden (filing cabinets) systems?

Paperwork can be exhausting, so pace yourself, and set up a filing system that works best for you.

Day 12 Recap

  • Know your style – don’t organize like everyone else. Do what works best for you.
  • Use a smart system. If you use it and can find what you need, then it’s smart.
  • Always purge before you organize.

Check out the Ducks In A Row Course!


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