File Folders - The Many Choices & The Power of One
May 29, 2014
Having just completed another season of file setup and tax records prep, I am so ready to share insight gained from helping a wide range of thinking styles get and keep their records organized.
The concept truly is straightforward:
one type of folder
one set of categories
one year at a time
There are lots of fancy-dancy file folders out there, and I do enjoy the variety-colors/patterns/tabs, et al...but if you are facing a mountain of paperwork that needs to be filed either scanned or paper-based systems, I suggest the following:
Purchase heavy-duty plain manila folders, a blister pack of white file folder labels-permanent (not removable), a plastic banker's box, and black sharpie: an investment of under $20.
Decide if you want the tabs on the right or left side (that means right or left cut).
Use post-its on a long folding table to identify "gross" categories: credit card statements/bank statements/business receipts/ tax records (donation receipts/car registration/property tax)/utilities-for the year, and place past years' papers in their own unseparated stack. Meaning, one for 2013, one for 2012, and so on.
Set a timer & with a stack of unfiled papers, deal 'em like cards to the proper stack. (See? Organizing is FUN!)
When the time ends, neaten up the pile, write the category on a white label, stick it on the folder, add in the stack, and place folders--in alphabetical order--in the file box.
Add any papers you did not get to behind the now filed document folders and set aside for your next filing session.
Use the same concept for scanning documents: gross categories by calendar year.
This method is a great and low stress way to get the paper monster tamed. Filing for 2014 will be a breeze!