Filing can be an overwhelming and stressful job if you let it. Taking things a bit at a time works best for me. That might mean a file drawer at a time or splitting the work over several days. Having a clear filing system is a most helpful way to approach the task. There are many good filing systems out there but the one I use in our home is the freedom filer system. This filing system is so clearly thought out I never feel the need to relabel every year. I might add a file or move them around but that’s it. If you want to know more about this system I’ve done a post you can read here.
Beginning one small pile at a time I start the sorting process. Attaching sticky notes to the smaller piles that label what they are eliminates confusion. I don’t attempt to put them away until I’ve completely finished my stack of papers.
What should I keep?
As you organize you might wonder what to keep and what to toss. I like the guides on the IRS website for a tax guide. For information on other household files I like this publication found at USA.gov. These are just two examples but there are may available on sites like Pinterest. Choose the one that fits your household best. I also shred as much paper as I can to protect my information and families privacy. It’s best to shred paper throughout the year though. If you don’t you might have a large pile to shred on filing day – a tedious mistake I have made more than once.
I like colorful file folders and I use them to color code my files. Using all your files in one color is also a visually appealing way to file. Appearance does matter. If you don’t even like looking at your files you will not get any joy in your approach to the task. I used paint sample cards to label my filing cabinet drawer this year. I just needed a break from the usual white labels.
I had some extra space and decided to file my son’s artwork by year. I just kept his best stuff.
When the job is all done you may find yourself in the mood to sort and clean other areas too. I did need a batch of cookies to get me through it all though.
I’m a happy girl. I have finished organizing the major paper areas in my home. There are just two more areas I want to share with you; my binder storage and my new Franklin Planner system. Look for those in upcoming posts.