Is it time to reorganize your filing system?

Are your filing cabinets so stuffed that you can squeeze another file into it? Do you have stacks of paper on your desk that you don’t know how to organize? Once a year you should be reviewing your files and purging or achieving the prior years’ documentation.

On average you will only reference 20% of what is in your filing system! Let us see how much of the 80% of information we can purge! An organized filing system and organized desk will allow you to work more efficiently and will provide you with a sense of space and productivity.

As you go through your files ask yourself these questions.

1. Why am I keeping this paper? Only hang on to papers that have purpose such as legal, financial documentation, active client records or compliance records.

2. Will I ever reference this again? If the information is available elsewhere (such as an online catalog or is electronically achieved) then get rid of it!

3. What is the legal/compliance retention guidelines for certain documents? Ask your lawyer, accountant, professional associations, banker, or professional organizer how long you should retain your documents for legal purposes and make sure you don’t throw any necessary papers away.

Have three filing places!

1. An easily accessible filing cabinet/drawer near your desk for the items you will reference or file on a regular basis. (Examples: bank statements, active customer/client files).

2. An out of the way area (attic, basement, closet or off site storage) for items that you likely will not reference or that you are saving for regulatory reasons. (Examples: Old financial documents and closed client files)

3. An onsite safe, fire box or offisite safety deposit box for the hard to replace documents. (Examples: Vehicle titles, corporate documents, insurance documents, mortgage documents, special legal documents, stock or bond certificates. If you are organizing your home files consider sending estate planning docs, birth or adoption certificates)

I challenge you to get your own files and office organized. There are however, clients of mine that believe the process of office organization is too daunting or can not set time aside to organize. Some need help getting started and others need someone to oversee the project from start to finish. Every filing system and business is unique. Métier can work with you to customize a system and to ensure that your organizing process make sense and is efficent. If you need help or just have a question then send us an email:

p.s. Don’t forget to recycle the papers you throw out!

This entry was posted in Business Organization, Filing, recycle, Tips. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Is it time to reorganize your filing system?

  1. Teresa Jackson says:

    Great article about keeping a filing system organized. Regarding when to purge I have found recommending some kind of a color-coded year/date code greatly decreases the time and effort required to purge files. This can also be used to supplement a computer system for purging.

  2. Métier - Business Solutions says:

    Thanks Teresa! Color coding can be very helpful.

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