5 Tips for Organizing a File Cabinet

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5 Tips for Organizing a File Cabinet

Staff Writer · Apr 2, 2010

A file cabinet is essential to organize your records and other important documents. However, your file cabinet should be properly structured to ensure your ease of access to your paperwork. The following 5 steps will make organizing your file cabinet easy.

1. Purchase the Proper Materials

For a file cabinet to be truly organized, you will need hanging file folders, file folders and possibly labels. Purchase differently colored hanging file folders and regular file folders so that when used you will be able to separate the two. Labels may be unnecessary if you are using new file folders, but will create a more professional look. Also make sure that you have a thick pen or permanent marker to label the folders.

If you wish to have a more intricate filing system, you may want to purchase several different colors of file folders. You may then use these different colors to separate different bills or related documents within the overall filing system.

2. Separate the Papers

Before you can know how to file different papers, you must separate them into piles. Group related papers together, sorting bills from private documents. For example, put water, electric, automobile and other bills into piles. Other possible separations include apartment lease contracts, insurance papers, loan papers and family documents.

3. Make File Folders

The next step is to make a file folder for each group of papers. Label each file folder for the group of papers it will hold. Make sure the labels are easy to read and properly identify its contents, printing them on the computer if necessary. At this time, also hang the hanging file folders into the file cabinet.

4. Organize the Files

The next step is for you to organize the file folders. There are several different schemes you can use, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. One option is to alphabetize the folders. However, this presents the problem of possibly forgetting the name given to papers should it be an unusual one. Another choice is to put them in order of use, placing those papers you use the most at the front of the cabinet. A final option is a combination of these two methods. Organize the papers only by use but alphabetically within those groupings. This method will allow easy access to the papers you need to access most frequently and make it simpler to find individual files within those groupings.

If your cabinet has several drawers, use them to hold different items. For example, the top drawer could be dedicated to personal papers, the middle drawer to financial papers and the bottom to bills. This will allow for even further separation and ease of access.

5. Make a To-Be-Filed Folder

The tip to keeping an organized file folder is to make sure you properly file your papers. You can do this by creating a folder specifically to hold those items that need to be filed and then filing them in the appropriate folder when you have time. This will prevent paperwork from piling up around your house and from you getting shoving papers wherever they will fit. If you have more than one drawer of files, make a “To-Be-Filed” folder for each drawer to make your eventual organization easier.

A file cabinet is a great way to organize your paperwork and keep yourself on track. The more you separate different papers the easier they will be to access. Remember that if one filing system does not work as you would like it to, you can always try another.

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