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Creating a Filing System That Works For You

This is the third of a three-part blog series on organizing your paperwork. The first talked about Organizing Incoming Paperwork making an initial decision on the everyday paperwork you receive in your house: recycle, file or take action, And the second delved into Handling Action Items, how to set up your Action folders to be the most efficient for you.

Whether you need to file paperwork as soon as you receive it, or after you’ve taken action, it’s very important to set up a filing system that works for you and to stay on top of the filing. There is no right or wrong way, but make sure that it is a system that works for your personality.

Since filing the paperwork is something that should be done on a regular, consistent basis, consider having your filing location in an area that is pleasing to you – lots of sunshine, a favorite room, or the like – rather than a dark corner that you don’t want to go into to begin with, let alone to file papers! If you use a computer for bill paying or tracking, the files should be nearby so that you can file as soon as you’ve completed your action.

Set aside regular time for the actions that are required to handle your paperwork. An idea for that might be setting aside an hour for bill paying twice a month and 15 minutes for filing other paperwork one day a week. Create a time frame that works for you.

Whether you store your paperwork physically or electronically, the filing system is the same: a hanging folder with various manila folders in a file drawer is the same as a file folder with sub folders on a computer. Below are various ways of setting up your files – again, neither is better than the other, as long as it makes sense to you.

Various Ways of Filing Monthly Financial Paperwork

Whether you have a separate office or just a small area of a desk/counter, you can create a solution to fit your needs for storing the filed documents.

Some Ideas On Where/How to Store the Files

If you are tight on space, consider getting a scanner and start an electronic storage system. Be sure to also have an external hard drive and backup regularly!