Simple Tricks for the Filing Newbie

Published Thursday, February 03, 2011 4:45 PM

Some people are organized by nature. You know them by their alphabetized spice racks, perfectly antiseptic medicine cabinets and tabula rasa workspaces. Others are not. But we believe that a little nurture can overcome nature so if organization isn't in your DNA, we're here to help.

Last week we covered Filing 101, offering a primer on the anatomy of a filing cabinet and a handy cheat sheet on what paperwork to save or toss. If you spent time with those posts, and implemented any of our recommendations, you're off to a great start for an organized 2011.

Now it's time for some tricks of the trade, those little "I-never-would-have-thought-of-that" tips that will help move you along the path from filing newbie to seasoned pro.

Making the Most of Manila Folders: What home isn't inundated with bills, receipts, kids' art work, and disparate to-lists? Consider using a few clearly labeled manila folders on a bulletin board or the inside of a kitchen cabinet to triage and sort paperwork before it disappears into the dreaded stack (aka unwieldy pile). Über-organizing blog the Unclutterer  has a helpful post on putting manila folders to work: Creating a Home Paper Management System. 

Portable File Totes: Digital nomads, freelancers visiting clients, or on-the-go parents may want to avail themselves of a portable filing tote. Portable totes double as a "briefcase" and make organizing while on the move a breeze. Organizing blog Ready, Aim, Organize  has a helpful post on the pros of portable totes (note: while they recommend a specific brand there are numerous totes on the market which can easily be found with a Google search).

Crack the Color Code: LA lifestyle blog Cupcakes & Cashmere trains its aesthetic sensibility on home office files. Read the post Office Etiquette  for details on synching an attractive streamlined desktop holder with a more comprehensive system in your filing cabinet. As a bonus:  the system is color-coordinated, providing a vibrant example of form meeting function.

Get to Know Your Label Maker: Filing newbies may believe that label makers are the province of the professional organizer. Not so! Anyone can, and should, add a label maker to their organizational arsenal. For inspiration, read 10 Great Uses for Label Makers for more on making this handy tool.

Be Boy Scout Ready: Steal a playbook from the Boy Scouts and "be prepared." When a health or weather disaster strikes, it's no time to be scrambling for insurance documents, etc. Prepare a file of emergency documents before adversity strikes. For more on getting ready for an emergency, read Preparing for the Unexpected. 

Do you have any filing tips or tricks? What little step or tool makes your filing easier? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.

by Carly Fadako


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Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization.  Believing in  "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.

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