Organize Your Files
Filing is a task that is often thought of as drudgery. Taking the time to put papers away can be a hassle—but there’s no denying, it’s time well spent. Have you ever put off filing only to have piles start stacking up around you? Here are some tips to keep your files what they should be—an ongoing flexible resource for papers you will need future access to.
- Keep it simple. A basic filing system of manilla files and hanging folders work for great for most file drawers. It’s always easy to find replacement parts and as your files grow and change, the system remains flexible.
- Label to locate. Having your files labeled properly is the key to being able to retrieve documents quickly. Keep a labeler handy at your desk. It’s great for making quick file labels, not to mention many other types of labels at your fingertips. They’re inexpensive and worth the investment if you want to be organized.
- File according to use. If a frequently used file name starts with a Z, don’t alphabetize and put it at the back of the drawer. Place files used often in the most accessible place.
- Know what you have. It’s best to give your files a good once over one to two times per year. Pull out each file, look through the contents, toss what you can and move on. When your files are current, the drawer isn’t over stuffed and filing is easier.
- Keep files current. The file drawer at your desk should be for current file use only. Any long term files such as tax documents should be boxed, labeled and stored elsewhere. Check out our Records Retention Document for guidelines on how long to keep specific documents.
Remember, the reason it’s important to file is because it’s easier to find papers in a file than in a pile. Sifting through piles is time consuming and inefficient. Although it initially seems like more work, it actually takes more time to find something that hasn’t been filed.