Paper filing is a big deal for many people. Although much of what we do these days is online or electronic, many people still use, print and file paper. Here are 5 paper filing systems you can tailor to suit your needs at home.
1. Good old alphabetised paper filing system
Use the the alphabet (plastic tab with A,B,C etc) and then a tab also with the categories (including banks and then the different bank accounts, insurance and then the different insurances) and the category also written on the manila folder.
2. Important document manual
Try using a home manual or important files folder. Kikki k has a collection of great ones including Bills Organiser and the pictured Manuals and AMP. These folders will give you some set sections to store your important items. This is a great way to be able to quickly reference things that you need.
3. Electronic filing
Perhaps you don’t need a paper copy? Save copies of important documents electronically in the similar alphabetise filing system on your computer or somewhere in the cloud. However, that being said, you may not even need the electronic copy. Can you contact the provider to access your information such as electricity bills if you need them in the future, rather than keep your own copy?
4. A box
Now I must admit I have been criticised for saying that you can just file your paperwork in a box. The criticiser was right; retrieving information from a box is difficult. BUT, I have worked in homes where paperwork is all over the home. Keeping 2018/2019 in a box, would make retrieval much easier than searching in the office, and the kitchen and bathroom (yes, the bathroom), where all the files are in no date order at all! 5, 10, 15 years worth of paperwork all over the house.
My point with the idea of using a box, is that the system does not need to be complicated. It just needs to be easy to use so you can continue to use it.
5. Colour code
If you’re a visual person, you might find the colour coded system works for you. Use a colour for each broad category eg: utility bills, warranties and manuals, school, financial, etc. This makes returning files to their permanent home in the filing cabinet easy. Choose colours that remind you of that category.
How did you go?
Which system above will best suit your needs? Reduce the amount of paperwork coming into the house in the first place. Discard paperwork once you have processed it if you don’t need to keep it at all.
The crucial part of paper filing is to process regularly as outlined in Take control of your paperwork. Make it a part of your weekly routine.
If you really can’t get your head around all this, give me a call to discuss your paper filing challenges. I’d be happy to give you some guidance. If you’re you’re still stuck after a chat, I can come and work in your home and sort it all out for you.
Julie Cliff, Melbourne Professional Organiser at Space and Time specialises in home management systems for professional, working Mums. Mums that are having trouble keeping up with work, the kids’ school and after school commitments, household chores and, consequently, they are feeling exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed. Sound familiar? Julie would love to hear from you – firstname.lastname@example.org