User-friendly filing

In Part 1 I introduced the idea of a user-friendly filing system.  Today I’ll explain what I mean and give you some examples.

Who’s the user?  You are.  The first thing to keep in mind is that the user is you, or your family, or your office staff.  Whoever the user is, tailor your filing system to suit.

Be specific.  For example, instead of “banking”, file each bank account separately, and mark each file clearly with the name of the account.

Use plain language.  Label your files with words that “tell it like it is”.  A file marked “Articles” doesn’t tell you much.  Instead you might say “Articles to write” or “Great article ideas”.

Downsize.  Size-wise, you be the judge.  If a file is getting too big to handle, divide it into 2 or more files.  For instance, if you collect “Seasonal craft ideas” you may want to break it down into “Christmas”, “Easter”, etc.  While you’re at it, do some “weeding”.  That is, get rid of any out-of-date or never-gonna-get-around-to-it ideas.

Upsize.  On the other hand, it makes no sense to have just 1 or 2 sheets of paper in a file.  Perhaps your “newspaper subscription” and “magazine subscriptions” could be combined.

Easy as ABC.  In a home office situation, some files benefit from alphabetic filing, like client files.  But not many.  Unless you store a lot of files, you can keep the most-accessed files in the easiest-to-access position.  You can group like with like – banking files together, tax records always together, home-related files in the same drawer.  Get it?

So you see there are just a few rules.  The biggest rule is that whatever you file should be easily retrievable.

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