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Elements of a Good Reference Filing System

How many of you have a reference filing system in place at home and/or in your office that’s working well for you?  A reference filing system creates a home for those papers you already took action, or don’t need to act on, but need to keep for your records.  Are you able to find the papers you need quickly and when you need them?  Is your system user-friendly?  Does your system encourage you to purge your files on a regular basis?

There are several elements of a filing system that can make it effective. We have come to love and highly recommend the FreedomFiler, a great filing system for your home or home-based business filing needs.  The FreedomFiler has many of the elements we consider key to filing system success. Consider these when setting up your system:

  • Have color-coded files for different categories such as (red for permant files, orange for administrative files, blue for tax files and so forth).
  • Make sure your file cabinet or drawer has enough space in it.  An over-crowded drawer will rarely get used.
  • Use clear plastic tabs and try to organize your files alphabetically.
  • Create interior or sub folders when appropriate (ie. under the main folder “Auto Records” you may have sub folders for each car you own).
  • Try filing your non-tax related statements, invoices, receipts, etc. by month instead of by vendor.  This makes filing very quick and easy and it also allows you to purge your files every few years.
  • Get into the habit of filing right then and there.  The longer you wait…the larger the pile of paper gets which often leads to feeling overwhelmed and then the filing never gets done.
  • Try to have your filing drawer close to where you open the mail or pay the bills.  You are more likely to file if you don’t have to go all the way to the basement storage room to do so.

If this sounds like the perfect filing system for you, we offer one-on-one FreedomFiler Consultations where we can come into your home and set-up the system with you and begin to transfer your piles into files.  Contact us if you are interested in learning more.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. I’ve heard so much about Freedom Filer and it sounds like a great system. Right now my challenge is to purge my files of all the outdated, unneeded and unwanted papers that have accumulated over the years. Maybe a new system is the incentive I need to make it happen!

  2. Jill Robson says:

    Freedom Filer was being demonstrated at the POC conference in October, it looks very impressive, it would have to be tweaked for Canadian users (as tabs have US tax names) but it could easily encourage people to file more.

  3. Blanka Smetana says:

    I like the colour-coded labels. They make filing easy and fun!

  4. Olive Wagar says:

    You make an excellent observation that it is better to just go ahead and “file it don’t pile it!” I also have labels on the front of each drawer of my file cabinet, such as “Clients” “Speaking” “Writing” “Education”, which reflects the files I keep.
    Welcome to POBC!

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