What Organizing Project Am I Working On This Week?

I'm always asking everyone what they're working on, and today I'm going to let you know what I'm working on.


MY FILES & PAPERWORK

This time of year I go through my file cabinet, folder by folder, and get rid of anything I do not use; or work on anything I might have forgotten about.

Since I do this regularly, it does not take me a long time - one morning with 2 cups of coffee gets me through LOL



As with all things organizing: Categorize and Declutter. When it comes to paperwork, decluttering is a little different. First, you have to go through each piece of paper you have (open those envelopes) and then decide what will be filed, needs action right away, or needs shredding.

 

HOW MY FILES ARE DONE

I label my files with broad subjects:

  • Important Papers - Instead of having very specific files with 1-2 sheets of papers in it, I rather have it all in one. Not everything is important; therefore, this would never be a overflowing folder. In file? Insurances, birth/death certificates, leases/mortgage, deeds, etc. And in case of a fire, this is the one I grab and run with.

  • Health - Almost everything having to do with my health goes in this file. The only health paperwork that will be placed elsewhere, are the items I need for taxes.

  • Business - All my business paperwork is in this one.

  • Taxes - I have a file for each year, for the past 7 years and current year. Throughout the year, I place any receipts or paperwork needed for tax time.

  • Memorabilia - This folder will be obsolete for me shortly. At one point I had concert tickets, letters, Playbills, kids drawings, etc. that I wanted to frame or commemorate in some way. Due to the Covid lockdown, I have had time to take care of these projects, and due to the ongoing pandemic, I have not added to the file.

  • References - These are pictures, files, or papers that I find as useful resources for me personally or for my business. Considering everything I can find online, this will be deleted this year as well.

  • Legal - Any legal paperwork goes in here.

  • Warranty & Receipts - Although most warranties can now be done and saved online, I still have a few. I also keep receipts of any major appliance, or I attach it to the warranty unit, until it expires. Sometimes I will place a receipt of something I bought as a gift, or am unsure of, in this file. I go back to it when the return policy expires and shred it.

TIP - Make your filing system as easy, and as specific, as YOU need it to be. You want to be able to have a system that is easy to use, easy to retrieve, and easy to file away. Here is a


WAYS TO FILE

Staggering or Straight Labeling:

  • Staggered file labeling is a good option if you color code filing categories, then have multiple files within that category labeled in the straight line.

  • Straight file labeling makes it quicker to find a file. This is my preference.

  • If you have a small amount of files that fit in a portable file box, you can do either labeling.

  • The article from SMEAD, "Find It Faster Using Straight-Line Filing", can help you further. Or peruse their site for more tips on filing.

Color Coding Files:

I do not find it necessary for myself, so this will really depend on personal preference and how much paperwork needs to be filed today and in the future. You can use red for important paperwork, green for health related paperwork, etc. There are different ways to color code files, and SMEAD has a great video on their website "How to Organize by Color".

 

ELECTRONIC FILING

As we strive to be more and more paperless, our computers, laptops, etc have an increase in the amount of electronic files. Here's what to do:

  • Use the same categories you have in paper files.

  • Have folders with a broad category and then have subfolders within that category with further break down. For instances: Folder "Taxes" will have subfiles for each year 2020, 2019, etc.

  • Go through files regularly: monthly, quarterly, and yearly. Delete (another word for declutter) any files you no longer need or use. Add documents to the right folder and subfolder.

  • Here is another article from SMEAD: Conquer Electronic Clutter: How to Organize Electronic Files that can get you started.

 

Organized by Catherine O organizes all areas of your home, maximizes your space, and problem-solves time management and productivity challenges. We are based in New York City and serve the NYC-Metro area.

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