Filing Paper - Tips & Tricks

Filing your paperwork is a surefire way to stay organized and on top of things, but it’s one of those chores many of us neglect until we have a gigantic pile to tackle. We have cluttered desks, stacks of papers and files, and half-empty filing cabinets with no organization. On the other hand, we may have filing cabinets so overstuffed we can’t even find what we’re looking for.

Streamlining our file with proper organization techniques and adopting diligent paper shredding guidelines can free up much needed space and help boost efficiency. The simple tips and tricks below will make it easier to get organized –
and stay organized. Spend one afternoon using the strategies below and you’ll never find yourself buried under mountains of unfiled paperwork again.

Organize Your Own Way.

Many people set up files alphabetically, or use a standard system they learned from someone else. Unfortunately, most people find their “system” doesn’t work for them. Don’t feel tied to a system that doesn’t serve its purpose. What seems intuitive and fits the way you work? By date? Project? Client? Topic? Consider several options and find the right fit. You may want two different filing systems – one for work files and one for personal records.

Code Your Files.

Colored tabs and label makers may seem like “extras,” but after you’ve used them, you’ll love how easy they make it to find what you need. When you pull open a file drawer and see all of your “banking” files grouped together in blue you can find what you’re looking for quickly. Don’t underestimate the psychological effect of neat looking files, either. You’re more inclined to keep them up-to-date and looking great. Try a label maker to create easy-to-read labels.


Streamline what you keep and what you toss. If you have old papers you don’t need, shred any with personal or financial information and toss others.

Leave Room to E-x-p-a-n-d.

A filing system isn’t effective if it’s filled to capacity. When you are done filing your existing paperwork, you still have space for future paperwork. If you have hanging file cabinets, drop in a few hanging file folders with empty manila folders waiting to be labeled. If you are using file boxes, simply keep a few extra manila folders on hand.

File every day.

Don’t fall into the habit of stacking papers on the top of your file cabinet of desk and tell yourself, “I’ll file those at the end of the week.” Weeks turn into months and soon you’re back where you started. Set aside five or ten minutes at the end of each day for filing important documents and shredding any paper you don’t need.

Schedule regular purges.

Many people set up a great filing system with intentions of sticking with it and soon find their system stuffed. Every six months, set aside a few hours to go through your files and remove papers you no longer need. Closed client files can be sent to storage or scanned and shredded to free up space.

Once you get organized, filing paper won’t be an overwhelming chore. If you have a large volume of documents to destroy, visit to schedule a pick-up.