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Organize Your File Cabinet
and File With Style

If you would like to organize your file cabinet or start one from scratch

get ready to do some sorting and decision making.

Computer technology was welcomed in the hope that it would decrease paper clutter. The fact of the matter though is that paper is necessary. Many of us thrive using it (me being one of them). The goal here is not to eliminate all of your papers but to decrease the amount you have to file.

You can have a filing system that you can retrieve any paper quickly and easily! Start with these steps to organize your file cabinet.

Step #1 - Conquer the Mail

The best way to avoid the paper clutter in the first place is the tackle it before it gets out of control. That means having a plan for the mail as soon as it enters the house.

Step #2 - To Keep or not to Keep? - That is the Big Question!

Papers multiply easily when you keep everything. To find guidelines for what papers to keep and what can be tossed click here.

Step #3 - For Here or to Go?

Step #4 - Time to Organize That File Cabinet!

Action Files

These are the files I refered to earlier. These are papers that need a response from you in some way. Some categories to divide them in are to read, to file, or to respond (such as bills or correspondence).

These files should be easily accesible. If possible make room on a desktop using a tabletop folder divider or if you lack desk space you can go vertical and hang a letter organizer on a wall.

Reference Files

This is where most of the space will be taken when you organize your file cabinet. Your reference files encompass all files not included in your action files. Therefore, you get the idea that this can add up to many papers.

Some home filing systems are very complicated but I try to keep mine simple. Remember you want to be able to find that piece of paper again. There are some preprinted folders but I like to go the freeform way. Write on the folder what you think is the best name for that category. Chances are if you named it you will find it again. Here is a list of some general categories (in green) you may like - each having subcategories:








Medical Information

Tax Records

Keep a file of all tax receipts needed to file your income tax for the year. Some subcategories are as follows:

These are all general guidelines to follow when doing your home filing system. If you are going to organize your file cabinet these ideas give a good reference point. Since all people have individual needs this list is not meant to be all inclusive and like anything if you have any questions please seek the advice of an accountant or tax advisor.

There is also a web site provided by the federal government which gives additional help on recordkeeping for individuals. The web site is www.irs.gov/publications/p552/ar02.html. Copy and paste it to your browser or click here.

Do you need more organizing ideas? Then try our monthly Home Organizing Ideas Newsletter. It is filled with original ideas and expert advice to help you reach your organizing goals. Receive my special free booklet on how you can start organizing your desk, garage, papers, closet and more! It's FREE so SIGN UP NOW by clicking on the link on the top right of this page!

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