Filing folder systems: The Best Way to Organize Your Files and Folders


The Best Way to Organize Your Files and Folders

If you’re like the average person, you probably have several “unofficial” spots for the various files, papers, and documents that make their way into your life.

Your desk is a likely candidate, as is your kitchen table – and, of course, there’s the very bottom of your backpack, where papers go to die and never be recovered.

Well, prepare to kiss your average-ness – and all of the messes in these places – goodbye.

By channeling the combined spiritual energy of Marie Kondo and Leslie Knope, I have created this guide that will show you how to easily organize all of your files, documents, and papers.

We’ll start things off by figuring out which of your files should actually be on paper (rather than on your computer). Then, we’ll talk about how to organize and process those files using the Three-Location System. Finally, we’ll dig into how you can start to digitize your files.

Let’s get started.

Physical vs. Digital: How Should You Store Your Files?

Look, it’s 2019. We’re not writing down our friends’ phone numbers on Rolodexes anymore, and when the phone company leaves a phone book on our doorsteps today, we angrily tweet at them for destroying the environment.

So… should we even be talking about how to organize physical files? Shouldn’t we all be going paperless?

Well, if you’re anything like me, the answer is “mostly yes”.

Whenever I get a piece of paper, my first instinct is to either:

  1. Recycle it (this happens to most of the mail I get)
  2. Digitize it… and then recycle (or shred) it

I don’t like keeping a whole lot of paper in my life. I’d much rather store all my files in the cloud, where they don’t take up space and can be accessed on all of my devices.

However, there are certain things that just need to be kept around in physical form. So, until we all figure out how to upload our consciousnesses into computers and adopt a fully-simulated existence (assuming we’re not already doing that now – cue X-Files music), here are some documents you should make sure you keep on-hand:

Documents You Need to Keep on Paper

Keep all of these documents in your physical file system:

  • ID documents and passports
  • Birth certificate
  • Social security cards
  • Business licenses (if you have a business)
  • Marriage license (if you’re married)
  • Vehicle titles, loan documents, and registration documents
  • House deeds and mortgage documents
  • Wills and living wills

If you’re a student, you may not have many of these kinds of documents right now; however, you’re likely to acquire some of them in the future, and you’ll want a safe place to keep them.

Additionally, you might want to keep around certain sentimental documents – clippings of newspaper articles you were mentioned in or wrote yourself, extra-special birthday cards, crayon drawings from your little brother – that kind of stuff.

Whatever it is, use the following system for organizing and storing it.

The Three-Location System for Organizing Files

When it comes to organizing physical files, I use a simple system that consists of three locations:

  1. Main file box
  2. Inbox
  3. Portable file folder

There are a couple of other optional locations you can add to your system (which I’ll cover later), but these three will cover the vast majority of your needs.

Main File Box

The main file box is the place where the majority of your physical files should eventually end up (if you’re not going to digitize them).

If you have a lot of papers you need to store, you could buy a multi-drawer filing cabinet for this purpose; however, I find that a single file box is more than enough for me.

This file box is built to store hanging folders, each of which gets a label. Most hanging folders come with labels included.

Now, when you’re creating your structure here, it’s a good idea to try to adhere to the “tree” structure you used for your digital files.

Use each hanging folder as a top-level folder. This might be all you need; if you’re like me, you won’t have a ton of physical files and won’t need to go deeper.

If you do need to go deeper, though, you’ve got a few options. The first is to simply put multiple regular folders within your hanging folders.

I actually do have an example for this; my landlord left an entire file box with the house I’m renting because she is supremely organized (honestly, she should be writing this article instead of me).

Each hanging folder is just a letter of the alphabet; in each one is a folder for each piece of the house – the garage door, security system, refrigerator, etc.

Another method is to use pieces of printer paper as dividers, and then to attach sticky flags to the edges of each one in order to create labels that stick up from the rest of your papers.

You could also use thicker construction paper if you wanted these dividers to feel more substantial than your normal papers.

Adding a sticky flag to a piece of paper creates a useful divider for different types of files.

This method isn’t quite as nice as using folders-within-folders, as that method allows you to take out a specific folder when you need to work with it. It is, however, cheaper – and it takes up less space.


Be honest with me here: When you get a piece of mail that needs to go into your file box, how often do you immediately open up that file box and put it in the correct spot?

I’d wager a guess that it’s not 100% of the time, and that your kitchen table if often used as a convenient place to toss things that will get “dealt with later.”

Here’s the thing: This is fine. You probably shouldn’t be opening up your file box and finding the exact folder for each file you get at the exact moment you get it. It’s a lot more efficient to have a specific time blocked out for processing all of your unorganized files, mail, cryptic messages written in cut-out magazine letters and nailed to your door, etc.

However, your kitchen table does not deserve to be a dumping ground for all of these things in the mean time. That is a job for your Inbox.

An inbox is a simple tray (or stack of trays if you want to get fancy) that sits on your desk. Whenever you get something that needs to be processed later, you put it in the inbox. There it will wait for processing.

At least once a week, go through everything in the inbox and decide what needs to be done with each piece – deal with it (if it represents a task, like a water bill), digitize it, recycle it, or put it into your main file system.

Portable File Folder

The final piece of your physical file organization puzzle is the one that travels with you.

When you’re out of the house and away from your file box and inbox, you still need some way to store with any papers you get at work, class, or from that guy outside your local coffee shop holding his “The End is Nigh” sign.

Now, depending on the type of work you do and classes you attend, your portable file folder can function as either a portable inbox (which you clear on a regular basis) or a mini file box that actually holds papers for a significant amount of time.

If you’re anything like me, you don’t have any physical papers that you need to carry with you. You might carry a physical notebook (maybe you’re a bullet journal user) or a novel, but you’re not actually carrying worksheets and other papers.

If that’s the case, then I recommend keeping a single folder in your bag and using it as a portable inbox. This gives you a safe place to temporarily store any papers you get while you’re out and about, and it doesn’t take up much space.

When you get home each day, you can move any papers and end-of-the-world pamphlets you received to your main file box, your inbox, or the recycle bin.

But what if you’re a student who needs to carry around assignments and handouts?

Or what if you’re a high-powered, slick-haired business person who needs to carry around, ya know, business papers?

If this is the case, then a single folder probably isn’t going to cut the mustard. (Actually, the edge of a folder is more than capable of cutting mustard – but I digress)

Instead, look at getting a portable accordion folder (I recommend this one from Five Star). These come in tons of different designs, from ones that just have a close-able flap to ones that zip up and have built-in tabs for labels.

All of these have one thing in common: They give you several folders in one slim, compact package, which means they act as a portable file box that you can work out of.

You can easily separate and organize all the different papers for your classes or Very Important Business Deals, and unlike old-school binders with a hard spine, they expand or contract based on how much you’re carrying.

Optional File Locations

The Three-Location System will most likely be all you need for the vast majority of your files, especially if you decide to start digitizing most of them. However, there are a few potential exceptions. Here I’m going to cover a couple that you may want to consider.

Manuals Box

One type of physical “file” that I almost never digitize are product manuals. I have manuals for my lawn mower, digital piano, camera, and various other things I’ve bought. These are often pretty thick, so they’d take up a lot of space in my main file box if I tried to store them there.

That’s why I also have a “manuals box”. In my case, it’s just a cardboard box in my basement where I store the manuals for the things I buy. It’s not very organized. Whenever I buy something and think I should keep the manual, I just toss it in the box.

Of course, you can be organized with your manuals box – in fact, my landlord’s file box is, indeed, a hyper-organized manuals box. When I eventually own my own home, I’ll be building a similarly organized manuals box.

For now, though, the number of manuals I own is small enough that a single box – without folders – works just fine.

Remember, sometimes over-optimizing one tiny part of your life takes so much time that your life in general becomes less optimized.

Safety Deposit Box

For your very sensitive documents, man. Safety deposit boxes can be rented at most banks for a yearly fee, which can vary from bank to bank and location to location.

There are also companies that focus only on safety deposit boxes, and you might find them to be cheaper. One that I found here in Denver rents small boxes for $125 a year.

Personally, I don’t use a safety deposit box. For important documents, I have backup scans. However, I also live in a house where I feel my documents are fairly secure.

At other times during my life, though, I lived in dorm rooms with roommates who would often leave the door unlocked – or wide open. If you’re an a similarly insecure living situation, a safety deposit box might be a wise investment.

Organizing your paper files is a great example of analog productivity. For more analog productivity advice, check out this article.

How to Go Paperless: Digitize Your Physical Files

To round out this guide, I want to talk about something that’s even better than properly storing and organizing your paper files; namely, digitizing them and then removing the physical versions from your life.

That’s right: It’s time to adopt the (mostly) paperless lifestyle.

Digitization is the process of scanning your physical files and turning them into electronic images or PDFs. From there, you can easily slot them into your beautifully-constructed computer folder system, where they:

  • No longer take up any space in your home or backpack
  • Can be backed up and rendered invulnerable to fires, bullies, or escaped zoo gorillas
  • Are searchable (if you save them as PDFs, or…well, read on.)

Personally, I try to digitize almost every paper I get. Unless I’m dealing with a thick product manual (and can’t find a PDF online to replace it), it takes very little time to digitize a paper.

This is especially true now that almost everyone has an ultra-high-resolution camera built into their phone. In the past, the only easy ways to digitize papers were to either buy a scanner or go down to a Kinko’s or Staples and scan documents there.

Now, you can just use your phone – which means you can digitize handouts, receipts, and other papers wherever you are.

Additionally, if you’re using the right app, you can automatically send your scans into your file system.

Here’s how I digitize my files. First, I’ll note that for the most part I prefer to send all my scans into my Evernote account rather than my actual file system. If you’ve taken my productivity systems course (which is free using that link), you might know that I use Evernote as a second brain.

A scanned document in Evernote. Here, the text is searchable, and the entire document can be tagged and annotated.

All of my article research, book notes, recipes, journal entries, and other ideas go into Evernote. (Note that there are other options – Check out our Top 10 Note-Taking Apps in 2020 list to see the best ones.)

Since Evernote’s UI allows me to see the contents of an individual note right next to all my notes and notebooks (instead of forcing me to open things up in a separate program), I find it to be a much more efficient place to store ideas. That’s why I choose to send scans there as well.

There’s another reason, though – Evernote makes your scans searchable, even if they’re images.

I tend to upload my scans as PDFs, but you can also add pictures into Evernote and its optical character recognition algorithm will allow you to search any text in them (even if it’s handwriting).

The Best Free Document Scanner App

With all that being said, I actually don’t use Evernote’s built-in scanning tool to digitize the papers that I get.

Instead, I use an app called Scanbot (iOS | Android).

Scanbot does a great job at automatically detecting the edges of most documents.

I’ve found that Scanbot’s ability to quickly detect the edges of a piece of paper (or business card, or receipt, or a Magic: The Gathering card) is much better than Evernote’s, and you’re also able to scan multiple pages at once – when you’re done, the app can stitch them into a single PDF.

These features make scanning much faster, but there’s another reason I like Scanbot so much: The automatic upload feature.

Within the app’s settings, you can choose a destination to which all new scans will be automatically uploaded. Destinations include:

  • Evernote (the one I use)
  • Google Drive
  • Dropbox
  • OneDrive
  • OneNote
  • Lots more, even including FTP and WebDAV

Moreover, you can choose a specific upload folder or notebook for most destinations. In Evernote, I’ve set mine to a notebook called !INBOX, which is also the place where I create most new text notes (I’ve named it with a “!” symbol so it sits at the top of my notebook list).

Scanbot does have one significant drawback: The Pro version has become quite expensive in recent months.

As a result, I’m planning on testing other scanning apps in the near future and updating this guide with a new recommended pick. In the meantime, check out this list for some alternatives.

Note: If you’re using a document scanner app that sends scans to Evernote, Google Drive, Dropbox, or some other cloud-synced app, then your digitized files will be reasonably backed up. However, you should make sure that they are. If your scans only exist on a single computer hard drive, they could be lost in an instant if that hard drive fails.

Create an “Inbox” Folder on Your Computer

I want to make one final note on digitization: If you choose to upload your digitized files to your computer’s native folder system, instead of an app like Evernote, then it might be a good idea for you to create an “Inbox” folder on your computer.

Some people actually use a digital Inbox folder just like a physical inbox, saving all new files to it and then relocating them later on. I don’t do this for a couple of reasons:

  1. Most of my frequently-accessed folders are pinned to my Quick Access sidebar, so opening them doesn’t take much time.
  2. A lot of my work involves video editing, and video projects are full of footage, images, music and other documents. Changing the file locations for those assets can break a project.

However, using an Inbox folder for your automatic scan uploads is a really good idea, because it allows you to scan a document in seconds and move on with your life. You don’t want to be standing around in the grocery store, digging through folders in Google Drive in order to find the right one for that receipt your just scanned.

Instead, sit down once a week and process the inbox folder, just as you would do with a physical inbox. This is exactly what I do with my !INBOX notebook in Evernote as well.

When you work this way, you efficiently batch all your sorting tasks, removing as much friction as possible from the multiple times during the week when you might choose to scan a document.

Shred Sensitive Documents

Now, once you’ve digitized a document, you’re probably going to want to get rid of the paper version. You’ve got several options for doing this:

  • Recycle it – this is the best option for most things.
  • Throw it away – if you want to prove that “End is Nigh” guy right and harm the planet.
  • Burn it – check your local fire laws and current bans, and don’t burn glossy stuff! Here’s a guide if you really want to do this.
  • Eat it – if you’re a goat, you’ve already done this.

However, you should know that certain unsavory characters have been known to dig through trash and recycle bins, looking for paper that contains personal information they can steal. Don’t let your personal information fall into the hands of these unscrupulous opportunists.

Whenever you digitize anything containing account numbers, your social security number, financial data, or other personal information, make like a Ninja Turtle villain and shred it afterwards.

I use a cross-cut shredder, which is more secure than a basic strip-cut shredder since it cuts paper into small pieces instead of long strips that can easily be pasted back together (the American Embassy in Tehran learned this the hard way back in the 1970s and 80s).

It’s not too expensive, and you can keep it in a sort of always-on mode so that it instantly starts shredding when you feed in a piece of paper. And it’s definitely less work than dealing with having your information stolen! Speaking of that, you might want to listen to our podcast episode on digital security practices as well.

Organization is a Long-Term Process

As you’re probably aware, simply setting up a system for organizing your files isn’t enough: you have to actually use it.

Once you’ve finished implementing everything from this guide, make sure you actually take the time to properly organize new documents when you get them. Put them in your inbox or portable file system right away, then process them on a regular basis.

Additionally, it can be helpful to have a schedule task – once every 3-4 months, say – to go through your file system and make sure it’s working order. If anything is out of place, put it back in its place.

This process will help keep “entropy” (or chaos) from creeping into your file system – ensuring that you always know where everything is.

If you want to get even more organized, check out these articles:

Top 10 Best Filing Systems 2021 – Bestgamingpro

Top 10 Best Filing Systems 2021

1. Internet’s Best Collapsible File Box Storage Organizer with Lid – Decorative Linen Filing & Storage Office Boxes – Hanging Letter/Legal Folder – Home Office Bins Cabinet – Grey Container – 1 Pack

  • Letter or authorized recordsdata: the storage organizer might match each letter and legal-size recordsdata/paperwork becoming your distinctive submitting system.
  • Transportable – stackable – versatile: the collapsible storage file bin is supplied with quick access carrying handles and is extraordinarily sturdy for stacking a number of submitting containers on high of each other. geared up with a label window for easy group and could also be used for storing toys, closet equipment and different gadgets outdoors of recordsdata.
  • Linen file organizer with lid: the linen file organizer is the right storage field to retailer all essential paperwork, folders and paperwork whereas nonetheless offering a comfortable accent to the room/workplace with its ornamental design
  • Collapsible submitting field: the storage container collapses down merely for simpler storage when not in use
  • File folders not included. consists of 1 file field. dimensions: inside dimensions: 15″(38.1cm) width x 12″(30.5cm) depth x 10″(25.4cm) peak; exterior dimensions: 16.25″ width x 13.25″ depth x 10.75″ peak

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2. Expanding File Folder 24 Pockets, Multi-Color Accordion A4 Document Organizer with Expandable Wallet Stand – Works on A4 Size and Letter Size

  • Sturdy building: produced from top-end 700d polyester and polypropylene(pp) to keep away from any breaks or deformation. additionally out there in a4 measurement, these letter increasing file organizer stand as much as repeated put on over an prolonged interval of use.
  • Quick access: increasing backside permits for added capability and likewise gives the power to face up in your desktop, 24 pockets together with small coloured labels which assist to successfully classify your recordsdata and conveniently safe contents
  • 24 pockets house: this huge capability a4 measurement file folder (measurement:12.59″ x 9.25″, width:1.96″-20.47″) which makes it appropriate for day by day submitting and storing of paperwork; match each a4 measurement and letter measurement. it might maintain roughly 3000 sheets.
  • Multi-color design: sturdy reinforcements line the folder pockets, providing dependable added power. multi-color poly label reveals each the doc and the label tab, making all of your recordsdata easy to retrieve
  • Provide 30 days 100% a refund or free change assure, value making an attempt on your work and household! and extra purchases with extra low cost. for particulars please see the particular supply beneath…

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SimpleHouseware Mesh Hanging File Organizer, Black

  • Mesh desktop organizer: sturdy metal mesh building with black end
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  • Holds letter measurement hanging recordsdata with straightforward carry handles;
  • Rubber toes protects your desk from scratches and prevents sliding

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4. The Paper Solution: What to Shred, What to Save, and How to Stop It From Taking Over Your Life

  • Immediately find paperwork for taxes, audits, resale, repairs, returns, inquiries, claims, billing, budgeting, profession growth, rental administration, property planning, wellness, family tree, tasks, leisure, and extra.
  • Select file names tailor-made to any particular person or family; personalize recordsdata by making use of letter and quantity tags, handwriting, or printing with templates.
  • Free your self from cleansing out recordsdata, utilizing rotating, replaceable, and everlasting recordsdata.
  • Velocity file with optimum month and topic system.
  • Consists of file labels, information, resealable envelope; requires hanging recordsdata, tabs, and container.

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5. FreedomFiler Home Filing System 1/5 Tab

  • Conveniently arrange a lot of recordsdata for a single class in a single file folder on account of 2’’ backside sq. building with thick cardboard help insert that can help as much as 100 recordsdata without delay.
  • Designed for organizing your house workplace, this bulk pack of 25 further capability folders with 30 plastic tabs and cardboard helps is available in 5 assorted major colours (purple, blue, orange, yellow, and inexperienced) to make colour coded submitting a snap.
  • Simply stuff massive and ponderous recordsdata, medical charts, product manuals and extra into our strengthened 2’’ increasing submitting folders, designed that will help you maintain your essential paperwork conveniently organized.
  • Say goodbye to overflowing hanging recordsdata that clog your file cupboard and forestall it from shutting! our sq. backside design permits massive recordsdata to sit down flat and never stick out of the highest of the file, as tends to occur while you use normal v-shaped hold recordsdata.

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6. Blue Summit Supplies Extra Capacity Hanging File Folders, 25 Reinforced Hang Folders, Heavy Duty 2 Inch Expansion, Designed for Bulky Files, Medical Charts, Assorted Colors, Letter Size, 25 Pack

  • Frequent organizer field measurement: inside dimensions: 15.6″ x 12.four” x 9.four; exterior dimensions: 16.1″ x 13″ x 9.eight”. the storage organizer match each letter and authorized measurement recordsdata, and different gadgets outdoors of recordsdata.
  • Linen workplace storage with lid: the linen file organizer is the right storage to retailer paperwork, folders, papers; the purposeful and ornamental design creates a flat and tidy house.
  • Improve file storage set: the workplace paperwork organizer features a linen organizations, 5 hanging organizer file folder for the letter measurement, 5 plastic tabs, and replaceable white inserts.
  • Collapsible saving house: stack the doc organizer for hanging recordsdata on cabinets for saving house. when not in use make the most of the folding function, put the collapsible file field away.
  • Distinctive purposeful design: the sturdy metallic handles for straightforward lifting and is extraordinarily sturdy for stacking a number of submitting containers. lable slot with a protecting cowl is helpful for lookup recordsdata.

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7. JSungo File Organizer Box Office Document Storage with 5 Hanging Filing Folders, Collapsible Linen Storage Box with Lids, Home Portable Storage with Handle, Letter Size Legal Folder, Grey

  • Porcket chart size: 47″ – width: 14″ – 10 pockets width: 13.three” – pocket depth: 6.eight”ï¼›three hanger hooks,oversized non-corrosive grommets alongside the highest for straightforward hanging
  • Excellent works as a file organizer, invoice organizer, file holder, doc organizer, submitting system, mail organizer, and basic inbox, whereas complimenting workplace decor. within the classroom can work as an organizer for homework, middle wall pocket chart, classroom poster, and many others…
  • Godery hanging file folder organizer, long-lasting and washer-friendly heavy obligation ballistic polyester with industrial grade stitching. this isn’t an inexpensive, skinny, pocket chart that can disintegrate or tear, however will final a lifetime whereas holding something you need to, we’ve examined the product holding 100’s of kilos with out tearing, ripping, or any high quality points
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9. Smead Stadium File, 12 Pockets, Alphabetic/Monthly/Daily, Household/Blank Labels, Letter Size, Navy Blue (70211)

  • Subtle, prime quality construct – stitched linen material over a top quality mdf board (medium-density fiberboard) create unparalleled fashion, craftsmanship, and power. an ideal match on your dwelling, workplace, or dwelling workplace!
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  • Clever design – our distinctive one-piece information rail system 1) suits authorized or letter measurement hanging file folders. 2) permits file folders to slip easily. three) prevents file folders from falling off the railing four) permits the lid to shut with file folders inside
  • Collapsible & stackable – collapsible design makes for straightforward, minimal storage when not in use. sturdy design permits the file containers to be stacked with out compromise
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How to Setup a Filing System for Family Papers

Organize paperwork with this easy filing system! If you’re overwhelmed by paper clutter, or you frequently lose important papers, then follow these simple steps to help with paper organization and get a HUGE list of sample categories to use when sorting your documents…

Utility bills, catalogs, coupons, insurance policies, credit card statements, birthday party invitations… The amount of paper clutter that comes into our house on a daily basis is crazy!

And without a good paperwork organization system in place, that paper clutter can easily become overwhelming.

And paper clutter, just like regular household clutter, can cause major STRESS. Yup, it’s been scientifically proven by researchers at UCLA. Women, especially, are susceptible to higher levels of stress if they live in a cluttered environment.

So I give clutter the boot BEFORE it drags me down. By the way… if you’re just starting out on your decluttering journey, then I’ve got a GREAT and FREE 7 Day Decluttering Guide here!

If you want to tackle your paper clutter and start an organization system that WORKS, then let me help! I recently redid my paperwork filing system, and I’m going to share with you exactly how I did it in just a few short hours. 🙂

*This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click a link and make a purchase, I earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

Steps to Organize Paperwork with an Easy Filing System

Step 1: Gather organization supplies

If your budget allows, I strongly encourage starting fresh with coordinated supplies. In the past I have recycled old file folders and used mismatched hanging files, but that just contributes to the overall messy look of your files.

If you are going to take the time to declutter and organize paperwork, then you want the finished product to look as tidy as possible. Here are the supplies that I recommend for organizing important papers:

  • Hanging File Folders – I prefer these that come in all the same color (affiliate), but you can also find them in bright multicolors. In my opinion, the dark green gives a clean, uniform look.
  • Manilla File Folders
  • Ultra Fine Point Sharpie – I like these Sharpies (affiliate) for organizing files if you don’t have a label maker, because the ink is dark and the ultra fine point makes handwriting look better.
  • Label maker – I REALLY recommend using a label maker to organize paperwork files! I have the older model of this one (I’ve had it for over 10 years!), and I LOVE it!

Step 2: Decide where you will keep your paperwork

You will need to pick out a spot to store your paperwork, based on how much you have. If you don’t have that many papers to store, or if the majority of your important documents are in digital format, then a small plastic filing box could work for you.

If you have more papers to organize, then banker’s boxes are a great option. Banker’s boxes are more affordable than a filing cabinet, and they can easily be stored in a closet.

You can also DIY a desk area using short filling cabinets and a few pieces of lumber. I knew when I started planning my office space that I would need a lot of space for hanging files. My husband and I are both self-employed, so we have to store paperwork for two businesses along with our personal documents.

We found two awesome, heavy duty lateral filing cabinets on Facebook Marketplace. They were originally an ugly brown color and had plain fronts. I wanted them to look more like they belonged in a HOME rather than an office, so we painted them white and added trim and handles to the fronts.

Then, my husband just fastened together some stained 1″ x 6″ lumber to use as a desktop, and voila! I had a beautiful and functional desk with plenty of storage for our mounds of paperwork:

Step 3: Make a pile of ALL paperwork and important documents

Whenever I start decluttering and organizing ANY space, I like to remove EVERYTHING first. Whether I’m decluttering my kitchen counters or organizing my freezer, this is a crucial step.

The same goes with organizing paperwork. Take all of your papers out of their previous homes and stack them together in a pile. This allows you to get an idea of how much space you will need for your filing system.

Step 4: Organize paperwork by sorting into piles based on category

Once all of your important papers are together, it’s time to start sorting them into separate piles based on category. Group similar documents together in a way that makes sense to you.

I’ve got some great example categories that you can use when sorting your paperwork done below!

Step 5: Get rid of paper clutter by throwing away or digitizing papers that you don’t need

Not everything in your pile of papers will need to be kept. Some items will need to be thrown away because they are expired or no longer needed.

Here are some examples of paper clutter that you may need to throw away:

  • Expired insurance policies
  • Loan documents for loans that have already been paid off
  • Expired coupons
  • Product manuals and warranties for items you no longer own
  • Car documents for vehicles you no longer own
  • Receipts for everyday purchases – I throw away receipts for normal, non-tax related purchases after I enter them in my Finance Tracking planner.
  • Old magazines and catalogs
  • Old holiday cards, birthday cards, etc.

Organize Paperwork with these Sample Categories

Organize paperwork by broad category first. Then, determine how you need to organize those main categories into more narrow ones based on the papers that you have.

The main categories that I use to organize important papers are: Personal Documents, Financial Documents, Insurance, Medical Documents, Home Documents, Taxes, Sentimental.

When it comes time to file your papers in a filing cabinet or box, group files for main categories together so that you can find them easily.

I also like to use my label maker in a larger, all-caps font for main categories and a smaller font for the subcategories. Here’s an example:

Below are examples of important papers that belong in each category:

Personal Documents

I prefer to keep all official personal documents together in one folder. These include:

  • Birth certificates
  • Social security cards
  • Passports
  • Marriage certificate
  • Voter registration cards
  • Vehicle title
  • Property deeds
  • Power of Attorney
  • Copy of Will

In a separate folder, I keep all personal work and education documents. These include:

  • Letters of recommendation
  • College transcripts
  • Diplomas
  • Certificates for training completed
  • Current resumes

Financial Documents

Financial documents can be filed in individual file folders for:

  • Bank Documents – Bank statements, new account documents, business cards for bank contacts, etc.
  • Stock Documents – Quarterly stock statements, stock certificates, etc.
  • Investments – IRA documents, 401K documents, savings bonds, etc. If you have a variety of investments, then file them in their own labeled file folders.
  • Credit Cards – Make one file folder for each credit card. Put all monthly statements, credit card terms, etc. into separate files.

*Note – Some people recommend switching to digital bank and credit card statements to reduce paper clutter, but I prefer paper statements for tax purposes. When tax time comes around, I just pull out my statements and highlight business income and expenses and personal tax deductions.

  • Tax Returns – I keep 6 years worth of tax returns with each year’s necessary receipts/statements in a separate labeled file folder (“2019 Tax Return”).

*Note – Once I have my tax return completed for the year, then I file the paper copy with that year’s bank statements, credit card statements, medical bills, and receipts for tax deductions in the Tax Return file.


Make separate folders for each type of insurance that you have. Then, file policies, claim receipts, agent cards, etc by insurance type. You should have a separate folder for each of these insurance types, if applicable:

  • Car Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Home Insurance – Include a valuables inventory in here if you have one.
  • Boat Insurance
  • Any other insurance that you may have

Home Documents

Any documents related to your home should go in this category. Then, create subcategories based on the documents that you have, such as:

  • Product Warranties
  • Product Manuals – I only keep paper copies of manuals that are absolutely essential, because you can find most product manuals online in PDF format.
  • Home Loan Documents
  • Home Maintenance Records – I store all of my home maintenance documents in this Ultimate Home Maintenance Binder! I highly recommend that you have one of these for home resale purposes!

Medical Documents

  • Medical records
  • Vaccination records
  • Current eyeglass/contact prescriptions

Tax Deductions

Personal Deductions

Keep a file of receipts/invoices for any personal expenses that you deduct on your tax return. These could include child care expenses, medical expenses, school expenses, etc. I find it easiest to label the top of each receipt with the proper expense category (like “Daycare” or “Medical”) before filing in my Personal Deductions folder.

Business Deductions

My husband and I are both self-employed, so we have to keep very detailed records of all of our business expenses. In order to do so, I have one file labeled with the name of his business, and one file for mine.

Within each file, I put all of the receipts for each of our businesses. Just like our personal deduction receipts, I label the top of each receipt with the proper expense category (fuel, office supplies, etc).


If you have kids, then chances are you’ve got a stack of papers that you’ve kept over the years for sentimental purposes. These could include:

  • Sonogram photos
  • Newborn foot prints
  • Cards with weight/height/percentiles from visits to the pediatrician
  • Art work from preschool or elementary school
  • Mother’s Day cards and momentos that your kids have given you over the years

I group all of my sentimental papers in individual files based on child. For instance, I have one file labeled “Kaylee” and one “Kenzee”. I also have a separate file labeled “Family” for things like family vacations, photos, etc.

Tips to Keeping Your Important Papers Organized

After you’ve spent your time organizing your paper clutter, you want to make sure it stays tidy. Here are some tips to maintaining your paperwork organization system:

Designate spaces to keep paper clutter before it is filed.

Any and all paper clutter that comes into your house should have a designated temporary spot… and NOT on your kitchen counter!

All of our coupon mailers and retail store booklets that I want to keep for the near future go into a basket in our command center. My girls’ school papers (field trip permission slips, weekly newsletters, birthday party invitations) go into their assigned basket in our command center also.

And any important documents that need to be filed go into a designated box on my desk, if I can not get around to filing them immediately.

Each type of paper clutter should have a temporary home, before it is filed in a permanent spot or is thrown away because it’s no longer needed.

Go through all incoming mail immediately.

When you get your mail each day, immediately trash or recycle all junk mail and sort important papers, bills, etc. Place bills to be paid in a designated spot and put other papers that need to be filed or stored in an “incoming” box.

Doing this will eliminate paper clutter that tends to pile up on your kitchen counters, and it will ensure that important documents don’t get lost and bills aren’t forgotten.

Make filing any new papers part of your daily routine.

Organize paperwork by taking 5 minutes at the end of the day to file any incoming papers from that day. This is where a “To be Filed” box comes in handy… If you collect all of your important papers to organize in one designated box each day, then you can quickly go through the box and organize paperwork in your files at the end of the day.

This method also works when organizing your digital files. As a blogger, I download a TON of documents every single day. At the end of each day, I take just a few minutes to move files out of my “Downloads” folder and into neatly categorized folders. Go HERE to read more about how to organize your computer filesPlus, I’ve got a FREE Desktop Wallpaper Organizer to help you!

And once you’ve got your paperwork organization system done, then be sure to check out this post for my FREE 7 Day Decluttering Challenge:

I hope you’ve been inspired to tackle your paper clutter and organize paperwork with these easy filing ideas! It may take you a few hours to complete, but imaging all of the stress and time that you will save if you’re no longer losing important documents.

I’d LOVE to know if you use these paperwork organization tips and how they work for you! Leave me a comment down below!

And happy nesting!

Sharing is caring!

Create A Filing System That Actually Works!

It happens far too often that folks don’t get around to organizing and filing their papers until tax season approaches. Can you relate?

When you do FINALLY get around to dealing with your paper piles, you may think, “this would be a lot easier if I had a filing system that really worked!”

Yet the very thought of finding time to overhaul your filing system can feel overwhelming. But don’t despair: it is always worth the time to create a filing system that you can use going forward. I promise. 🙂 Remember that once you have functional and easy to use paper systems in place, dealing with papers will be easier on a day to day basis!

Start now, and delight your future self with a time-saving, simple, easy-to-use filing system that will make organizing papers, finding your files, and even preparing for taxes a breeze.

You may be wondering, “but I have paper files, and digital files, and so much information in my email!” That’s okay, we all do.

Fortunately, good filing systems are transferable. The concepts you use for your paper files can also be applied to your digital files and email. Let’s walk through the steps to create a structure that you will love, with examples.

1) Determine Your Broad Categories for Your Filing System

First, identify the groupings that you most often need to organize. Some common examples are business (or work), personal, finances, medical, travel, home, auto, and family. Start by creating folders or boxes for these. Add any other broad categories that are meaningful to you as you go along. Use names that make you feel good! Instead of “money, “your file might be called “Abundance!”

2) Put ALL Free-floating Papers Into Those Filing Categories

Now it’s time to quickly sort. For anything that doesn’t easily fit into one of the categories you have created, have a “Miscellaneous” file. The key is to organize like a kindergartner: put like with like, and don’t spent time studying the documents. Just sort them into your top level categories. It’s okay if you end up with folders crammed full of papers or files, because the next step is to…

3) Organize Your Broad Categories Into Subcategories

This is where it gets fun and will take more time. If you feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath. If you need to take a break, do so. Bring your mind back to the present moment and remind yourself, “I can do this!” Go as slowly as you need to (but not so slowly that you stop!).

Using the same “like with like” principle, take one of your broad categories and organize it further. In Business, it might go something like this: you may have folders or use binder clips for income, tax papers, important documents, receipts, and loans. Once you’ve determined your subcategories for Business, you can further organize until you reach a point where every item has a home.

Note, there is no right or wrong way to create and label these categories. The only criteria is that they make sense to YOU.

Consistency is your friend!

Here is the exciting part: you can use the exact same process with your computer files and your email. In fact, it makes it much easier to sort files, whether physical or digital, when you use consistent systems throughout.

It’s simple but true: when you come across a business receipt in your email, you don’t need to stop and think about where it should go. You know (because you set up your broad categories and subcategories) what to do next: you can download the file and place it into your “Business” folder on your computer, you can print the file and place it into your “Business” folder in your filing cabinet, or you can archive the email in your “Business” folder in your inbox!

A couple of golden rules….

~ Don’t Keep Everything.

Papers and digital files are easy to come by, but take time and attention to keep organized. Remember that clutter has an impact on your health and well-being. Do yourself a favor and be mindful about what you allow into your home (or computer) and what you let go of. Some papers are important to keep, but many are not.

~ Declutter Regularly.

With that in mind, declutter regularly! It may be helpful for some to have an “Inbox,” either a physical drawer or folder in your home for incoming papers that you will sort later, and an identical folder on your desktop. Make sure that you have a date on your calendar (or with a professional organizer!) to go through this folder and sort everything appropriately.

Though this process may seem like a lot of work, it is 100% worth it. Once you have the systems set up, it will be easy to sort your files and stay organized all year. Remember, we are here to support you!

~ There Is No Once And For All!

You may have the urge to refine your filing system once you start using it. That’s okay! A key part of the decluttering and organizing process is that it changes with time. Your systems need to grow with you. You may find yourself ready to let go of some papers that seemed critical a few months ago! You also may even find yourself relabeling your files as you learn what makes the most sense and is easiest to use for you. That is why I use my favorite budget organizing tool, Super Sticky notes, as file folder labels.

If you don’t know where to start or would benefit from guidance when you get stuck, you are in luck! Take action TODAY and join our “Declutter Your Life” Membership to get the support that you crave on an ongoing basis!

The presence of a community of support and accountability is a powerful boost for mindful decluttering and organizing!  If you are not sure whether the membership or personal services are the best fit for you, just give me a ring at 301-270-0969 and we can have a chat about it!

How to Organize Your Files with Freedom Filer Filing System

I’ve tried a LOT of filing systems to contain my papers and documents and this system is the BEST. I’ve been using it for over three years and never plan to change it. The maintenance is super easy, the setup is simple and the colors make it extremely fast to find the document you are looking for. Because of this system, I don’t dread the filing process 🙂 PLUS, its more fun instead of plain manilla folders!


Video Details

Hi everyone, it’s Alejandra. And I’m sitting here next to my filing cabinet, my filing cart and I want to show you guys the filing system that I use inside my house that’s like super easy to set up. It’s fun to use. Yes, like filing can actually be fun with a system that I’m going to show you guys. Yeah, it’s easy to use and there’s like minimum maintenance. So if you’re not a paper person and you like dread filing, let me show you the system I use and maybe you can change the way you think about your filing cabinet.

How to Organize Your Files with Freedom Filer Filing System

So I’m going to try my best to film this and still be in the view. This system right here is called the FreedomFiler.

Here is exactly what it looks like. It’s a kit that looks like this.

How to Organize Your Files with Freedom Filer Filing System

Color-Coded Filing System

And the reason why I think it’s more fun than traditional filing is because the system is color-coded. So each color file symbolizes a different type of document.

So red stands for something, blue stands for something else, green stands for something else, etc… It makes it a little bit easier to find exactly what you’re looking for – like find the folder that you’re looking for – to stick a paper inside, or find a folder to retrieve a paper. It’s just a little bit easier and the way they do all the labeling in the system requires less maintenance.

A lot of people go through their filing cabinet annually and have to recreate folders based on if some kind of bill changes or their car changes. For example, if they label Honda Accord on their label and then when they sell their car then they had to go create another file with like the new name like Toyota Prius or whatever. So using the system, you just create label once and that’s it. You just create the label once. So that’s another reason why I really like this system.

Organizing Financial & Tax Papers

So the green section is for all of your financial-related documents. So like any bank statements, money accounts, retirement account, mortgage statements, credit cards, savings, all of those statement-type stuff and financial document related stuff goes in the green section. I like to think of that as like money is green so then your files are green or your financial files are green.

And then the light blue section is all of your tax documents that you save throughout the year and then you use to complete your taxes. So for example, that’s like your W-2, your 1099, any interest pain on anything, personal property tax, all those documents that you get throughout the year that are tax-related that you’re just like, “OK. Where do I put this?” That goes in the light blue section.

Filing Important Papers & Documents

How to Organize Your Files with Freedom Filer Filing System

The red section is all of your permanent documents. So like stuff that you would never throw away. So that could include like obviously, your birth certificate, your passport, your social security card, any warranties or manuals that you have, any health records, dental records, education records, any like records that’s permanent, like anything that’s permanent will go in the red section. So I like to think of it as red is like vital, important, like high priority so anything that’s like in that category I just talked about goes in red.

So the orange category right here is any kind of document that is continuously updated or temporary. So that could mean like your medical insurance policy. So every year, your health insurance sends you a policy book that’s like this thick and most of us don’t even read it but we keep it. So that policy they give you, they send it to you every single year, right? And so when they send you the new one, you can take the old one and just recycle it or shred it, do whatever you need to with it. And then just take your new one and put it inside the new orange folder. So orange is stuff that comes in, comes out, comes in, comes out, gets updated.

Purple, do you see the purple? I don’t really have that many purple documents. The purple is like hobby stuff, extracurricular stuff like I have return labels there and then there is like some passwords and stuff. It’s pretty much just like hobby, I don’t want to say, miscellaneous because you shouldn’t have a miscellaneous folder but it’s just like stuff that doesn’t fit in any of the other categories. It’s more like extra stuff.

Keeping Tax Returns Organized

Dark blue is all of your tax returns. So you file your taxes and then the IRS send your return back so all your returns go in the dark blue section. And again, that’s sorted by year. There’s actually different ways you can set up that category of files. But pretty much, it’s like by year or by decade.

So that’s all the colors here. So just by color-coding your filing cabinet, like it can make it a lot easier to find what you’re looking for in less time. I think it makes it more fun. It’s not just like your manila folders which are kind of boring, right? Like you open up your filing cabinet, it’s nice to see like all these pretty colors.

Maintaining Your Color-Coded Filing System

[VIDEO] How to Organize Your Files with Freedom Filer Filing System

So I just love this system for so many different reasons. I love the maintenance. I love how it’s color-coded. I feel like I can find things really fast. And I also like how all the tabs are like – they’re not all in one line. They’re not like zigzagged. But they’re like – well, they’re zigzagged but you can see all of them like nothing is hiding behind another file. So you can just see everything.

So before I end the video, let me go back to the example of how I told you that there’s like minimum maintenance when it comes to this system like having to recreate the labels every year. You don’t have to do that. So for example, this is my auto records folder. And I have all of my auto records from the car I have now. So if I sell my car or if I get rid of my car, I can still use this folder because it says, “auto records” and not the make and the model of the car I have now. Do you see how the labels kind of vague? So it just allows you to not have to recreate the label itself.

So another example would be if you label like let’s say you label one of your folders with like Comcast for your internet and TV bill. So let’s say in like two months, you switched to Verizon. So then you’re going to have to go back and like create another folder for Verizon, right? So you have to create your label again. So with this system, the label itself will just say “utility bill” or “cable and TV bill”. It won’t say the exact name which means you won’t have to recreate the whole label again, which saves you a lot of time.

So I have shown you my filing cabinet. And again, I will post a link below the video of where you can get this. This is what it looks like when it’s mailed to you. Let me open this one for you guys. When you get this system, it doesn’t include the folders so you’re going to have to buy the folders separately. So pretty much, you get a welcome packet and this is like instructions and then you get, these are all the labels that comes with it. It’s like sheets of labels just like that. And then you get even more instruction that tells you exactly how to set it up and the best way to use the system.

Again, it’s just awesome. I have tried different – I’ve tried maybe like five or six different filing systems and I’ve had this one for over three years now and I’m not like dying to switch it. It’s working. It’s easy to use. My fiancé uses the same system with his filing cabinet and he is not the paper person but he does well in his filing cabinet. He like maintains it and he finds what he’s looking for and yeah, he just maintains it.

So anyways, that’s my tip for today. And I will see you guys soon. Bye!

I’ll show you how to easily declutter your home of all the distractions holding you back from feeling free!

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  • Since 2008, organizing expert & certified life coach, Alejandra Costello has taught thousands of students in 132 countries how to get organized through her video-based training programs. Her YouTube videos have been viewed 100+ million times. Named 1 of the 5 most organized people in America by HGTV and “The Decluttering Queen” by Good Morning America, Alejandra’s expertise has been featured in The New York Times, Oprah. com, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Woman’s Day, Parents Magazine, and CBS. You can read more about Alejandra here.

The Best Home Filing System for You

The best home filing system for household paperwork. How to set up an easy-to-use paper organization system for your home.

The Best Home Filing System

I’ve been organizing papers for myself and my family for decades.

And what’s worked for me is to use a combination of binders and an easy-to-use filing system.

The key to staying organized with paperwork is to have a system.

A good home filing system should have the following:

  • A visual component – Color-coding files by category or purpose helps you to find folders faster.
  • A process for decluttering papers – We need a system for cleaning out our filing systems so we’re not holding onto paperwork forever.
  • Ease of use – The easier it is to use, the more likely you are to actually implement the system. You want to be able to file things quickly instead of creating a huge “to file” pile on your desk.

Related: The Tool I Use to Organize My File Cabinet

Is Filing Paperwork Right for You?

The filing system I use could reasonably organize every single paper in our home.

But I choose to use binders to organize some of our paperwork.


Because I found that there were some papers that I needed to bring out of the house with me frequently.

Having a binder full of papers I needed for specific purposes like medical records, and documents needed after moving made a lot of sense.

It was nice to be able to grab a binder and go!

But for other home paperwork, a household filing system works best for us.

Related: Ideas for Organizing Paper with Binders

My Home Filing System

After years of trial and error, I finally decided to start using the Freedom Filer system to organize paperwork at home.

For us, it clicked all of the boxes – it’s color coded, easy to use, and has a built-in purging system.

In fact, when I use this filing system, I can clean out folders without even having to review the papers inside.

As someone who used to have a filing cabinet busting out with old cable bills, insurance policies, and transcripts, it’s such a relief to finally feel like I have control over paperwork.

Freedom Filer

Check out this video to see the Freedom Filer in action:


The Freedom Filer home filing system makes setting up a paper file organization system easy:

  • Labels are pre-printed and color-coded. You don’t have to come up with label names – it’s all done for you!
  • Follow their process, and it works! Each Freedom Filer set comes with a booklet that clearly lays out the process for setting up and maintaining your files.
  • Temporary Files and Permanent Files are separated. This makes decluttering your files so much easier. You truly don’t even need to glance at your temporary files when throwing them out, and you can rest easy that there aren’t important documents co-mingling with your electricity bills from last year.
  • It’s customizable. You can set up the system for any volume of paperwork, and they even include blank labels in case you need to make custom labels for your files.

Is the Freedom Filer Worth the Money?

When I was deciding whether or not to buy the Freedom Filer system, I actually took a look at trying to DIY it, and recreate the system myself.

But I found out that it was cheaper for me to just purchase the stickers (The Home 1/5 Tab Filing System) from Freedom Filer, and use my old hanging folders to set up my system.

Plus, it saved me time and mental energy of trying to come up with different labels, categories, etc.

This file organization system has saved me hours upon hours, and it’s saved me from the stress and expense of having to replace important documents.

It’s absolutely worth it!

Go here to learn more about the Freedom Filer Home Filing System

How to Organize Paperwork at Home

Need more ideas for organizing paperwork at home? Check out these resources:

Records Management: Hard Copy File Management

Anchor: #i1004822

Section 5: Hard Copy File Management

Anchor: #i1004828

Visual Techniques

Section 1 discusses
basic file organization principles and techniques. The principle
of organizing for retrieval also applies to hard-copy filing systems.

Hard copy file management techniques include the use of file
coding and folder labeling as primary retrieval aids.

Anchor: #i1004843

File Coding

File coding is a shorthand identification of the major and
minor group and folder number to identify where records are located
and simplify routine filing and retrieval. File codes on folder
labels and in file plans should mean something to users and help
identify the contents of the file.

For example, a folder label has 3.CON 2 entered in the upper
left corner. This file code represents the second file
folder in the minor group Contracts (CON),
in major group number 3, which may be business
or project records that include contracts as a minor group. The
label may also contain the contractor’s name, the contract number
or other identifying information.

The following table lists acronyms used in file codes of minor
groups found in many offices. Create other codes as needed.

Anchor: #i1011321Table 4-2: Minor Groups and Codes


Accounting, Stock Accounts,




Administrative Operations, Administration (may
include accounting, budget, etc.)




Attorney General’s Office






Maps and charts




Materials Files, Materials Records


Austin Headquarters Correspondence, Reports,


Management, Program Management,








Personnel, Human Resources




Public Information, Public Relations


Contracts, Contract Monitoring,








Current Directives, Current
Project, etc.


Preliminary Bids, Preliminary
Plans, etc.


Division Director (or OD for
Office Director)


Program Files (or files related
to ongoing functional programs, etc.)


District Engineer


Project Files, Procedures


TxDOT Directives, Administrative
Circulars, Administrative or District/Division Announcements, etc.


Publications, Public Hearings


Equal Employment Opportunity


Purchases, Purchase Orders


Equipment (use MAJ or MIN if








General Correspondence, General
Reports, etc.


Requirements, Requisitions,


Internal Reviews, Internal Audits,


Resident, Research


Investigation and Planning Expense






Railroad Crossing






Legal, Legislative, Legislature


Tort Claims


Letting Files, Letters


Transitory Files, Reading Files

Anchor: #i1004872

Organizing and Labeling File Folders and Guides

Each file folder holds a specific set of related records.
There are a number of ways to arrange file folders within a major
or minor group. Keep the following in mind when organizing files:

  • Think about retrieving information
    rather than storing paper.
  • Use specific titles for major groups, minor groups and
    file folders, leaving no room for misinterpretation. Do not use
    “Miscellaneous” as a title; it is another word for “lost.”
  • Arrange folders functionally and logically. The arrangement
    should relate directly to office functions and provide the most
    convenient access to the most active files.
  • Use color to distinguish files that are purged routinely
    from files retained for a long time. Colored labels may identify
    a specific time period, such as calendar or fiscal year. The less
    that retention periods vary among various folders, the easier it
    is to manage the files. White labels can identify files that are
    not routinely purged.
  • Include reference to automated or non-standard records
    and files. Use file guides to tell users that automated or imaged
    files exist, where they are and how to access them.

Anchor: #i1004909

Setting Up Files

Steps in organizing hard copy files include

  • preparing file guides,
  • preparing labels for file folders and drawers,
  • coding records,
  • cross-referencing files,
  • organizing files according to the file plan, and
  • distributing the file plan.

Anchor: #i1004949

Preparing File Guides

Prepare a file guide (divider) for each major and minor group
of file folders.

Major group guides should include the major group number and
title, “1. ORGANIZATION AND MANAGEMENT,” for example minor
group guides
should include the appropriate major group number,
minor group code, and minor group title. For a minor group of audit
folders within the major group of organization and management, the
guide label would consist of “1. AUD Audits.”

Major group guides should be distinguishable from minor group
guides at a glance. An easy way to do this is to use a second-position
guide (center tab) for major groups and a first-or third-position guide
(tab on the left or right) for minor groups.

NOTE: For electronic files, microfilm files or files located
away from the file cabinets, prepare a guide that tells where to
find the files. For example, if files are maintained electronically on
a shared drive, a directory address, such as “SEE T:\Folder\Sub-folder
name” may be useful.

When using color coded folder labels as a file management
tool, use plain white guide labels to avoid having to prepare new
file guides every year.

Anchor: #i1004977

Preparing Folder Labels

Use color-coded labels to distinguish folders maintained on
a periodic (fiscal or calendar year) basis, and white for folders
that are not routinely purged which remain in the files year after

The folder label describes where a folder belongs in the files
and what is in it. Each label should include the file code, folder
title or content description and, if needed, a date for the contents.

Although space on labels is limited, including additional
information, such as identification of record copies and destruction
date can be helpful in file management.

For extensive or complicated filing systems, labeling systems
using large, easily visible letters, numbers and dates in varying
color combinations and tab configurations are available from commercial
vendors. Bar code technology is also commercially available for
large file systems with significant retrieval activity.

Anchor: #i1005002

Preparing File Drawer Labels

Use file drawer labels to identify the contents of each drawer.
If room permits, list the titles and/or codes, dates or other identifying
information for beginning and ending major and minor groups in the

Anchor: #i1005012

Coding Records for Filing

Ease of retrieval and successful file management depends on
accurate filing. Entering the file code on a document tells at a
glance where it belongs in the files. The most effective method
of coding is to enter the appropriate file code, consisting of the
major group number, three-letter minor group acronym, and appropriate
folder number in a prominent place, such as the upper right corner
on each document as a routine office procedure when documents are
created or received. This can be automated somewhat by including
the file code in headers or footers on template documents related to
particular functions or activities. It may not be feasible to code
all existing files, but when a file is retrieved, it can be coded
for accurate refiling.

Documents copied and filed in different locations need more
than one code. Circle the code for the file folder where the particular
copy of the document belongs.

Anchor: #i1005027


Avoid filing multiple copies of records. When a record appears
to belong in more than one place, prepare a file guide pointing
to the proper location of the record. This method reduces the chance
of inadvertently retaining convenience copies after the record copy
has been destroyed.

An alternative is to use the “Remarks” area on the file plan
to cross-reference files.

Anchor: #i1005042

Charge-Out Records

When a user removes a file folder from the files, the folder
should be replaced with a charge-out record card containing the
date of removal, a brief description of the folder removed (label
information usually suffices), and the name and phone number of
the user.

Standard charge-out record cards (Form 1418, Charge-Out Record
— DHT# 122641) are available from TxDOT supply sources. It is a
good idea to keep a few cards at the front of each file drawer. When
a user returns a checked out folder, the user’s name can be marked
out and the card re-used.

Anchor: #i1005057

Problems in File Organization

Basic organization moves from the broad functional area to
subdivisions of the area to the specific files. The most common
problems in organizing files are:

Too many major groups with only one or two minor groups in
each result in a complex and confusing filing system. Limiting the
major groups to the broadest categories of major functions or areas of
activity for the office helps reduce major groups to a manageable

Too many minor groups with only one or two folders in each,
result in too many sub-categories to remember and can increase the
chance of misfiles. Major groups may have a number of minor groups.
Carefully determining the scope of major groups will help you control
the number of minor groups. A simple and balanced system reduces
misfiles and lost records. It costs approximately $100 each time
a file is misplaced in a large office.

Document filing systems: hanging folders

Hanging systems the assortment of this group of archiving systems, read about the leaders and development trends in this segment of office goods in this review.

General characteristics

Hanging folders represent a special kind of products for storing documents. The folder itself is a sheet of cardboard or plastic folded in half, the edges of which are equipped with longitudinal strips with hooks along the edges.The hanging folder system eliminates the need for filing documents. Materials are simply put into the appropriate folders and can be instantly found thanks to special marked flags on the folders. The advantage of such storage of documents is that they do not “crumble”, do not cover one another, do not mix, are easy to find and easily retrieved, all without compromising their appearance.

Within the “Suspended systems” group, two groups that are still quite independently developing should be distinguished – boxes / trolleys and cabinets.And if you try to compare the degree of market saturation with these subgroups of goods, then cabinets, perhaps, “succeeded” more than boxes and carts. This is evidenced, for example, by the share of hanging systems in the total turnover of document filing systems from suppliers. In the product line of the Durable company, the share of stands for hanging folders in the total turnover of document filing systems in Russia is 6%. In the assortment of the Promet company – the leader in the production and distribution of cabinets for hanging files in Russia – the share of filing cabinets in the total volume of the Archiving and Document Storage Systems group, as well as the profit from them, is close to 30%.

The system for storing documents in hanging folders came to us from America. Over the past two decades, it has taken root in Russia as well. However, in general, it can be noted that this group of products is quite young in the domestic market of office goods and its merits have not yet been appreciated by all operators.

This is evidenced by the fact that in the assortment of many companies operating in the B2B segment, these products are either absent, or represented by a minimum number of positions – 2, 3, 4, at best – 7, 8th.Today, a very limited circle of operators of the stationery market offers a fairly wide range of suspension systems, and therefore the degree of market saturation is relatively low. Although it should be noted right away that this segment of office supplies cannot be considered, and therefore evaluated as a whole.

The volume of consumption of cabinets for hanging files on the Russian market is very significant at the moment. The market is saturated with a supply of both foreign and Russian manufacturers.

Perhaps this situation has arisen because filing cabinets in the domestic market “declared themselves” a little earlier than carts and boxes. They appeared in the range of our company in the spring of 1994. Initially, they were represented by the products of TM BISLEY from the world’s leading manufacturer of suspended storage systems, F.C. Brown (Great Britain), as well as products of TM AIKO (Thailand), and since 2000, Promet has opened its own production. Promotion of suspended storage systems is one of the priority areas of our company, he adds.”Recently, there has been a steady growth in sales.”

Russia is very far behind the developed European countries and the USA, preferring to store documents in archival cabinets and on shelves. “Although the most developed enterprises are more and more understanding the advantages of hanging systems and are switching to this method of storing documents not only in operational departments, but also in storage facilities,” he comments.

In general, the share of consumption of hanging folders in Russia is not yet comparable with the demand for filing folders and, according to some estimates, is less than 1%.However, since Russian companies are gradually adopting the practice of using them in office work from their Western colleagues, of course, in the near future the share of hanging folders will increase, although not at a rapid pace.

Boxes and trolleys

The uniqueness of boxes as one of the subspecies of hanging systems is that they have a more limited capacity compared to trolleys and cabinets. This, on the one hand, reduces the possible size of the stored archive, and on the other hand, provides it with high mobility and ease of movement around the office.Therefore, the main functional purpose of the boxes is the organization of short-term storage of documents, which often have to be addressed at certain stages of work.

From the point of view of design features, all boxes can be divided into 3 groups – frame-type stands, stands with a monolithic body like vertical trays and mobile briefcase boxes equipped with a lid, a handle (or 2 handles) and a lock. The last group of boxes is still the least common on the Russian market.

If we talk about boxes of frame type and boxes with a monolithic body, then models of the first group are in more active demand. This can partly be explained by their larger capacity and lower price compared to boxes with a monolithic body. Perhaps the reason for such popularity of frame boxes is also in a more “airy” design: such suspension systems intended for installation on a table do not visually “clutter” the workplace. In addition, the ability to “view” folders from the side is also an advantage in some cases when working with an archive while sitting.So we can try to suggest that today for the consumer the most relevant stands for hanging folders, which should be “at hand” on the table. In addition, often frame-type suspension systems are also collapsible, which in some cases also turns out to be their additional advantage. Although the assembly / disassembly of the structure can be considered a “double-edged sword” – no matter how strong the parts are, but with too frequent assemblies / disassembly and with unforeseen excessive loads, the key parts of the parts may not withstand and “crack”.So when choosing a collapsible model of a suspension system, it is necessary to make especially high demands on the quality of materials from which parts and structural units are made.

Analyzing the parameters that the suppliers of boxes for hanging systems pay attention to, one can single out such characteristics as the material from which the box is made, color, capacity, the presence / absence of hanging folders in the box, some design and construction features that ensure ease of use with a filing cabinet (for example, it is emphasized that a system with a monolithic case has front recesses that make it easier to read the folder markings, the presence of side protrusions for easy portability is noted, the possibility of installing boxes on top of each other is discussed, etc.)etc.).

Boxes with a monolithic case for installation on a desktop may not be so convenient, but they benefit significantly in cases where the storage location of the filing cabinet is a shelf or cabinet, along with other materials. In this case, the closed case will protect the hanging folders from damage that can be accidentally caused to the filing cabinet when moving or replacing “neighboring” documents. In addition, closed-frame harnesses are more fundamental, can withstand heavy loads, and better protect documents from dust.Over time, these advantages will be appreciated by users and filing cabinets with a monolithic body will be of no less demand.

If we talk about color, then the office style, especially when it comes to archives, is especially conservative. Despite the fact that manufacturers have formed a certain range of products (transparent, smoky, blue, black, red, etc. file cabinets), gray models are still of the greatest interest to the client. Analysis of sales of suspension systems of various colors showed that the color preferences of customers are absolutely identical for all types of suspension systems.The greatest demand is for gray, which is traditionally considered an office color.

From the point of view of capacity, desktop hanging systems can usually accommodate up to 8, 10, 15, 30 and 40 hanging folders. It is the “storage capacity” that is one of the main characteristics of the suspension system. The demand for harness boxes is directly proportional to the box’s capacity. Despite the higher price and a smaller share in the company’s assortment of boxes designed for 40 folders, they are in the greatest demand, – he notes.- Then – boxes for 30 folders and 25 folders, respectively. In general, we can distinguish three most popular models in the assortment of our company: a hanging archive-stand ATLANTA SMEAD desktop for 40 A4 folders, a hanging archive-stand DURABLE desktop for 30 A4 folders and a hanging archive-container ATLANTA SMEAD desktop for 15 folders in complete with 5 multi-colored A4 folders.

As well as boxes for hanging systems, trolleys can be divided into 3 groups: frame trolleys, trolleys with a closed case for folders and their kind – trolleys with a closed case for folders and with a lid and a lock.Moreover, the latter are much more popular than boxes with a lid and a lock, and are much more common in the range of suppliers. The presence of a lock allowing to restrict access to a large filing cabinet also makes the trolleys for hanging systems “related” with cabinets, for which the presence of a lock is often not even stipulated, since this is one of the constant and indispensable characteristics of products.

In general, trolleys with a closed case for folders are in the greatest demand, trolleys with a frame structure are the second most popular, and trolleys with a lid and a lock close the list.

Overhead trolleys represent a kind of “intermediate link” between filing cabinets and filing cabinets. They are mobile, just like boxes, but have a much larger capacity, which brings them closer to filing cabinets. The assortment of suppliers includes carts with a capacity of 25 to 50 folders, and the maximum volume encountered is up to 100 folders. A significant advantage and distinctive feature of some models is the presence of additional shelves that make such mobile filing cabinets multifunctional.Carts can be equipped with additional shelves for storing documents in ordinary filing folders, archive folders, etc. Office equipment or other necessary office supplies can be installed on the shelves.


File cabinets are the most rational and convenient form of long-term, stationary storage of large file cabinets. It is the large capacity that is the main distinguishing feature of this type of suspension systems.

Manufacturers and suppliers, presenting these products in catalogs and on the Internet, pay attention to such characteristics as capacity (number of drawers in a cabinet), permissible load per drawer, coating quality and quality of basic materials, stability, dimensions and dimensions, collapsible / non-collapsible , the presence of a lock and some other parameters of products.

In terms of capacity, there are models with 2, 3, 4 and 5 drawers, and products with 7 drawers are also offered. There are models in which the boxes inside are additionally divided by partitions, which makes it possible to structure the filing cabinet even more fractionally. The most popular, according to Dmitry Chernykh (“Promet”), are products with 4 boxes. The next most popular are filing cabinets with 2 drawers, since the dimensions allow such cabinets to be placed at the desktop level, in second place in terms of demand are models of cabinets with 3, and then with 2 drawers.Cabinet drawers can provide longitudinal (AFC series) or transverse (AMF series) placement of hanging folders.

Along with the capacity, essential characteristics include the presence of an anti-tipping device (which prevents more than one drawer from opening at the same time) and the permissible load per drawer.

When characterizing the quality of surface coating, manufacturers and suppliers often operate with such definitions as “painted with imported powder paint”, “smooth powder coating”, “durable powder coating”, etc.This parameter is responsible for the appearance of the product not only in the present, but also in the future – the better the coating, the more resistant it is to scratches and the longer the aesthetic appearance of the product will remain. Regarding the quality of the product itself, attention should be paid to such an important characteristic as drawer / drawer pull-back, depending on the quality of telescopic guides, which should ensure completeness, ease, and safety of drawers pull-out, comfort of working with a filing cabinet.

If we talk about the quality of the product and painting, then these characteristics are difficult to judge. There are features that are invisible from the outside, but affect performance. The end consumer most often does not know about them, so one of the criteria for choosing a product may be price. At the same time, prices for similar models of cabinets may differ from different manufacturers by 20-30% ”.

The design and color (in the overwhelming majority of cases, light gray) of cabinets from different manufacturers is not much different, the presence of locks is a constant “value”, the only thing that can distinguish different models is the presence of only a central lock or additional equipment of each drawer with a separate lock.In some cases, for example, when several small filing cabinets with varying degrees of access are placed in one cabinet, the equipment of drawers with hotel locks may turn out to be one of the essential characteristics.

Such a characteristic as “collapsible / indelible” is purely constructive and does not affect demand. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that in the range of the Promet company only 10% of the models are non-collapsible, and the remaining 90% are collapsible. The advantage of collapsible products is that during transportation they take up much less space than non-collapsible models.However, collapsible ones, ideally, imply the provision of additional service to the client – not only delivery, but also assembly, and this is very important for a corporate client. On the third hand, a non-collapsible (or collapsible assembled in a warehouse) structure during transportation is more likely to receive damage – scratches, dents, etc. So the ratio of cabinets in the assortment of the Promet company is 10% non-collapsible and 90% collapsible, perhaps, justifies itself.

The least important characteristic for this group of goods is weight.The cabinets are made of metal 0.8–1.0 mm thick and weigh from 40 to 70 kg. Customers don’t pay much attention to their weight. This characteristic is considered much more closely when purchasing other metal products, such as safes.

Organization of the system of registration and storage of documents

Approximately 85% of all materials stored in a medium-sized filing cabinet are never touched again after registration. The choice of methods of placing and storing information should be carried out taking into account the frequency of access to folders with documents.Here are some recommendations for improving your system for registering and storing documents.

Gareth Lewis
(Gareth Lewis), Management Consultant, Senior Fellow at the Institute of Management in the UK. The material is published in an abridged translation from English.

Free yourself from being overly reverent about filing and filing. According to experts, about 85% of all materials stored in a medium-sized file cabinet are never touched after registration.This means that in the future, only one out of five diligently filed and registered documents will be in demand. In addition, in all likelihood, this really necessary document will be very difficult to find.

You will never be able to predict with sufficient certainty which document you will need in the future and which will not. The task of the operation of registering and storing documents is not at all to free up your desktop, but to intelligently cope with the fear that arises when you are afraid to send a document to the trash can just because you do not know what is wrong. him to do further.Only those documents that you will not be able to freely obtain from other sources in the future, and documents that you may well need in the future, should be sent to the card index.

When evaluating a document in terms of the need for its registration and storage, try to immediately answer the question of
how you could benefit from it in the future . If you do not find a convincing answer to such a question, then feel free to send it to the trash can.

There are a number of other problems in the registration and storage of documents. Check which problems are directly related to you:

  • Incorrect placement of information;
  • lack of structure of the system for registration and storage of documents;
  • non-observance of the structure of the system of registration and storage of documents;
  • insufficiently thought out system of grouping documents for their subsequent search;
  • lack of a system for deleting obsolete documents;
  • Creation of duplicate folders due to the lack of a clear understanding of the documents already available;
  • registration and storage of documents that can be freely accessed from other sources;
  • creating too complex classification into categories within the system, to the point that the system becomes unmanageable;
  • non-compliance of equipment with storage of specific types of materials;
  • waste of time searching for incorrectly registered files;
  • indecision in the issue of choosing the place of storage of documents;
  • absence of folders borrowed by unknown persons.

The choice of methods of placing and storing information should be carried out taking into account the frequency of access to folders with documents.

Current projects and activities. This category includes folders that you can access multiple times a day, so they should be kept either in your desk’s filing cabinets or in a filing cabinet that should be located right next to your desk. This category also includes folders with documents for individual projects or tasks in progress.It may be useful to label these folders as follows: for reply, for reading, to prepare for meetings. This will help you fight the tendency to clutter up your inbox and avoid piles of paper documents on your desktop. If you choose this approach, you should be careful that these folders do not become trash spots. This is especially true for folders marked “for reading”. The disadvantage of general-purpose folders is their structure, which can lead to missing important information about the timing of a particular task.For example, a pre-read to prepare for a meeting, or an email that needs to be answered by a specific date. To overcome this problem, use folders with multiple compartments, with a reminder system.

Basic help files. Your main filing and filing system is for materials that you refer to from time to time. Documents for ongoing projects and activities should only be sent there if they are really worth keeping there.It is a mistake to simply send all documents for the current project to the main filing cabinet after its completion. After all, the folder related to this project, during its execution, could acquire other auxiliary working materials that no longer have any meaning. If you want your system to run smoothly and reliably, get rid of the trash mercilessly.

Organization of your system of registration and storage of documents

First, decide on the
number of partitions by which you want to group your folders.Naturally, this will depend on the nature of your work, but as a rule, the following categories are present in all systems of this kind: personnel, clientele, projects or administration. It will be helpful if you color-code the folders within each section in order to make it easier for yourself to search in the filing cabinet. This is especially convenient if you use an alphabetical system for registering and storing documents. Alphabetical order is usually most convenient for organizing the storage of individual files within a category or section.

When choosing the names of individual folders, use as detailed a description as possible, but consider the issue of filing cabinet management. You should avoid both dividing folders that are quickly filled with documents into several new ones, and the fact that you have folders with only a few documents stored in your system. Neither one nor the other is conducive to a quick search for the necessary business papers, which, in fact, is the main reason for organizing your system for their registration and storage. If the folders contained in one of the folders in the partition are too bulky from the documents spreading them apart, then the whole point of organizing your system disappears, because this is the same as keeping documents in the form of bales on your desk.Do not try to decide on the subsequent value of all documents passing through your hands, otherwise you will find yourself in such a position that some folders on your system will remain empty. However, remember that your system will expand over time, so leave some space between folders and partitions. Keep folder names short and simple, and try to avoid vague descriptions. Miscellaneous folders are essentially black holes. Choose appropriate equipment for storing materials.For larger reports and periodicals, it is better to use bin folders or sturdy binders rather than padded binders. Consider whether it is worth keeping magazines and other periodicals in their entirety. Cutting out the materials you want from them will take up much less space and make them easier to find.

Registration and storage of documents

Here are some recommendations for improving your system of registration and storage of documents:

  • At the top of each document to be stored, write down the name of the folder where you want to send it.This operation will help you avoid re-reading the document and determining the destination folder when you actually start submitting it for storage.
  • If you are at a loss as to where to send a document, try to identify the topic that it matches so that you will not have any problems finding it in the future.
  • Always keep a list of your folders at hand, this will help you decide where to send a particular document, and will keep you from creating new folders, the subject of which will overlap with the subject of the existing ones.
  • Avoid registering and accepting printouts of documents already stored on your computer. Organize a convenient directory structure for your computer files with a reliable backup system. These documents are easier to find and easier to modify. Plus, it takes up much less free space.
  • You should not register and store materials that you can freely access from other sources, such as: the executor of the document, the central archive or Internet reference resources.
  • Develop a strong habit of filing and storing documents. Regular filing and filing arrangements will save you time, so you never have to deal with a huge amount of filing and processing. If possible, try to register and process documents on a daily basis.
  • If your office has a problem related to the disappearance of some folders without a trace, you should establish a simple but effective system for controlling their issuance.Hang an envelope with ready-made A4 forms for issuing documents next to your filing cabinet. The form must contain the following three columns: name, position, date. Anyone who turns to you for a particular folder must fill out this form and place it in the space vacated from the folder.

If someone else manages your filing and filing system, you feel an irresistible urge to dump all this boring work entirely on him. However, remember that the information contained in the file is yours, so you should at least familiarize yourself with the structure of this system so that when you mark a document, you know that you will send it to a specific folder, and not to some black hole.This process of mentally distributing documents will help you find them if necessary.

Sorting folders and removing unnecessary documents from them

If you do not regularly pay due attention to the system of filing and storing documents, you can quickly lose control over the folders contained in it. The shelf life of materials depends entirely on the nature of the information they contain. Some documents become outdated within a few weeks, others do not lose their relevance for years.The process of reclaiming those materials that should be sent to the trash can or archived can be very daunting. If, while working with a folder, you notice that it contains outdated material, check it out, but try not to break away from your current task in order to tackle the lengthy process of re-sorting documents.

Try to schedule
time to revise your system . There are two paths to this, namely the Great Leap Forward path and the path of minor but frequent changes.The first of these involves conducting a thorough audit of the system, say, once every three months. The second is to re-sort multiple folders at the end of each work day. Both paths have their drawbacks. If you are overworked, and who is not overwhelmed right now, then the Great Leap Forward can be continually delayed indefinitely until there is actually a major problem in the system. The disadvantage of the second method is only that it will take you a significant amount of time to develop the habit of conducting such events.

Be that as it may, in any case, you should be ruthless in relation to the garbage, but at the same time do not let yourself get bogged down in the quagmire of suddenly arising side tasks. If in the process of work you find that some materials have been misplaced or one folder should be merged with another, send these materials where they should be sent, but refrain from the temptation to immediately start re-sorting the corresponding folder if this folder has not been processed yet. …Everything has its time.

Skills in managing documents and business processes are studied in the course “Project Management”. You can learn the principles of time management and personal organization in the Self-Management: Career Management course. All of these courses you can take in training on an individual program, including them in your curriculum.

Folders Installed on Mac – Apple Support (RU)

In macOS, items on your Mac are organized into folders.All folders appear in Finder. Many regularly used folders are found in the Finder sidebar.

Important! The user folder and some other folders cannot be renamed. We recommend that you do not rename or move folders that are on your Mac at the time of shipment. Many of these folders have a specific purpose and are required for your Mac to function properly.


This folder contains applications including Mail, Calendar, Safari and many more.Applications in this folder also appear in Launchpad. If you try to drag an application outside of the Applications folder, the movement will not occur — an alias will be created instead. For instructions on uninstalling apps, see Add or uninstall apps.


This folder contains fonts and other objects used by applications that are available to all users of your Mac. Do not use this folder to store the files and folders you create. Instead, use your user folder, Desktop folder, Documents folder, or iCloud Drive.


This folder contains the macOS operating system. You cannot rename or move the System folder and the objects in it.


This folder contains the personal folders of all users on your Mac. After you are logged in, your user folder icon looks like a home folder, and other user folders have ordinary folder icons. If you log out and someone else logs in, the icon for that user’s folder will change to a home icon.The Users folder also contains the Shared folder. Items in the Shared folder can be accessed by anyone on your Mac.

User folder

The name of your home folder is the same as your username and contains subfolders for desktop files, downloads, pictures, documents, movies, music, and any shared folders. You can create folders in your user folder.

You can also create folders in the iCloud Drive folder, in the Documents folder, or on your desktop (on your Mac or in iCloud under Desktop & Documents) to organize your files.There are places where you cannot create additional folders.

Where files cannot be stored, how to put things in order in a computer

Hello, readers of the site IT-lessons!

The first thing that every beginner should know when sitting at a computer is where you can store files on your computer and where you can’t .

If you do not learn the simple rules, then later many problems may arise (finding lost files, recovering accidentally deleted files, difficulties in reinstalling the system, etc.).etc.). But all problems can be avoided in advance if you immediately understand how to put things in order in your computer.

With this lesson, we open a new important section that will help you to improve reliability and safety of data storage .

How do I clean up my computer?

Many computer users store data (their files and folders) wherever they need to: on the desktop, in the My Documents folder, directly on the C: \ drive … When there are few files, this is not a problem, but over time, files become more and more: letters, reports, music, photographs, films … and there comes a moment when you grab your head: “where is that file at me?”

As you know, it’s easier to put things in order once, and then maintain. But you have to sit down and think !!! Of course, you can say “I’ll sort it out later,” but this “later” rarely comes.

Note that hard disk order also affects the storage security of .

Today you can change your life in the computer world one step further, and IT lessons will help you with this. 😉

Remember only 4 rules from the site IT-lessons that will help you put things in order in your computer and in the future will save more than a dozen hours:

Rule # 1: Drive C: Not for Documents!

Never store your files on the system drive (drive C: \).

Back in the third lesson, we figured out that all programs and data are stored on the hard drive. For convenience and safety, the entire information space of a hard disk is divided into two or more partitions, which are called “logical drives” and are designated by the letters “C”, “D”, “E”, etc. The operating system (Windows) and programs are installed on the C: drive, and the remaining partitions are used to store data and backups of this data.

Drive C: not for documents!

It’s like an apartment divided into rooms.You don’t store shoes in the kitchen, and don’t put a refrigerator in the bedroom, do you? Everything has its place. Likewise, you need to separate the system files from the user files. But this will be a separate lesson for advanced users.


Disk “ C: \” ONLY for the operating system and programs!

Store all your documents, photos, music and films on disk “ D: \”

If you have only the C: drive on your computer, but no D: drive, or this letter denotes a DVD drive, then be sure to divide the hard drive into two partitions.But this will be a separate lesson.

It may be that the letter D is indicated: an optical drive (CD or DVD), and the second partition of the hard disk is indicated by the letter E. You can leave it as it is, but it is better to swap these letters topic).

Rule # 2: “My Documents” on disk D:

Transfer the My Documents folder to disk D:

Initially, the My Documents folder is located on the C drive, which contradicts rule # 1 and puts all your personal files at risk (in case of crashes, virus infection, system reinstallation, etc.)etc.). Many users do not know this and save all documents in this folder, as programs (for example, Word) suggest. But this is easy to fix.

Move the “My Documents” folder to drive D:

Create a new folder on the D: drive with the name “My Documents” and move the old folder from the C: drive into it (not by simple copying, but by the corresponding item in the properties of this folder).

If you do not know how to move “My Documents”, then the second nearest IT-note on the site will teach you this.

I will tell you how to put things in order in the folder “My Documents” in the next IT lesson. Subscribe this link to the site news so as not to miss.

Rule # 3: Desktop is not for files

Never store files and folders on your desktop!

The point is that the desktop is also located on the C: drive, i.e. you may lose all of its contents if you reinstall the operating system.

Of course, it is convenient to keep important files “in sight”, and the name “Desktop” kind of hints, “keep it here.”But this is a real trap.

Do not store files and folders on your desktop!

Keep all files in the desired folder on disk D: documents in the My Documents folder, movies in the Videos folder, etc. (and this will also be discussed in more detail in the next lesson). And display only shortcuts on the desktop!

I will show you how to create a shortcut in different ways in one of the upcoming notes.

Rule # 4: Temporary folder

Store temporary files in a temporary folder, for example, C: \ Temp

It is often necessary to temporarily save a document on your hard disk (download a price list for viewing, briefly unpack a document from the archive to work with documents, or check the quality of a DVD recording, etc.).etc.). It is not necessary to “throw off” all this on the desktop. Set aside one temporary folder for this and periodically clean it.

Think of this folder as “almost a recycle bin.”

Temporary folder Temp

Why “ C: \ Temp “?

  1. If you reinstall Windows, you can easily delete this folder.
  2. Does not take up space in your personal storage (Drive D 🙂
  3. Easy to remember;
  4. Easy to get to (no need to wander through the jungle of subfolders).

When you try the temporary folder in use, you will understand what it is about and you will definitely appreciate the convenience 🙂


So, the first step on the path to order in the computer is to remember and follow four rules:

  • # 1: Disc C: not for documents, all yours on disc D:
  • # 2: Move My Documents to Disk D:
  • # 3: Desktop is not for files, only links
  • # 4: Temporary folder “ Temp” for temporary files

The following three notes on the site will help you understand the letters of partitions on your hard drive, teach you how to move the “My Documents” folder to the D drive (in Windows 7 and Windows XP), create shortcuts, and only after that you can move on to the next, 23 -m IT lesson.

Subscribe to the news of the site in order not to miss useful information (here is the link).

And, of course, I look forward to your comments on today’s lesson!

Author: Sergey Bondarenko

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90,000 Safely store your documents on your computer and sync them

Recently I received a letter asking for advice on the easiest and most effective way to back up the system folder “Documents” and automatically synchronize it with another computer – for example, a laptop.

I face this challenge all the time – I use both a PC and a laptop – and this is what I consider to be the simplest and most effective solution.

Reliable backing up of the Documents folder is, obviously, a cloud service that is now extremely advanced. Some services can make a copy of the “My Documents” folder, others cannot, but in fact there is no particular point in making a copy.

Usually, a cloud service creates its own folder on a computer – Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Disk, Yandex Drive, and so on, and everything that is placed in this folder is automatically copied to the cloud.

If you move the system folder “Documents” to this folder, and this is quite possible to do (however, this operation must be done correctly), then your documents will automatically be synchronized with the cloud at the same moment, as soon as you produce any documents with these documents. then actions (for example, edit).

In addition, and this is quite important, many cloud services are able to store multiple versions of the same file. For example, Dropbox (here is my article about it) stores the last thirty versions of each file for a month – this is called the “version history”, and you can rollback to the previous version of the file if the new version is messed up for some reason (for example, overwritten this file another).

Finding the system folder “Documents” in the folder of the cloud service does not create any inconvenience: I have been using it this way for several years.

Now let’s move on to the question of how to synchronize it with another computer – for example, a laptop. Very simple. We do the same on a laptop. That is, we move the system folder “Documents” to the folder of the cloud service (of course, it must be the same and registered to the same account). And that’s it! Now, if there were some documents on the second computer that were not on the first, they will be copied, and vice versa. And from now on, any changes in these folders on two computers will be synchronized almost instantly (of course, when connected to the Internet).

Now about how to transfer folders correctly and how to set it up in general.

First, let’s talk about the location of the cloud service folder. And by default it is usually pushed into the user folder “C: / Users / User / Cloud service folder”, which is very inconvenient for several reasons. Firstly, it is located on the system disk, and if you have more than one logical disk on your computer, then it is always better to keep the data on the second disk. Secondly, the system disk may be low on space.(Usually, when one physical disk is split into logical ones, as much space is allocated for the system disk as necessary, and the second disk for data is made noticeably larger.) And, thirdly, it is always more convenient when the cloud service folder is at the root of the disk, especially if you use file managers.

You can determine the path where the cloud service will create its own folder when you install the service application on your computer. However, what if it is already installed and the path is exactly the same as described above?

There are two ways.The first way is to transfer the folder in the service settings. For example, Dropbox.

However, not all cloud storages allow you to do this simply in the settings. In some of them, you first need to disconnect your account (in One Drive, for example, also in Google Drive), and then reconnect – and at this stage the application will allow you to change the path to your folder. (In this case, you can simply delete the old folder, the service will restore everything itself in the new folder anyway.)

Now how to move the system folder “Documents” there. No need to do this with normal copying! And you need to click on the user icon on the desktop, find the “Documents” folder there, right-click on it and select “Properties”. There is a tab “Location” and a button “Move”.

After that, specify the folder of the cloud service, click “Select Folder”, after which, returning to the previous window and making sure that the new path is specified correctly, click on “OK” – the movement of documents to the new folder will begin.

After that, when you open the system folder “Documents”, you will be shown a folder with documents, which is located in the folder of the cloud service and is automatically synchronized with the cloud and another computer (if necessary).

On the second computer, you need to do the same: place the cloud service folder in a convenient place, transfer the system document folder to the cloud service folder, after which the files of this folder on different computers will be stored in the cloud and will be automatically synchronized.

You do the same with other system folders that you need to store in the cloud and synchronize with another computer.

And it is imperative to get rid of the wrong habit of storing documents right on the desktop (desktop). They need to be stored only in the system folder “Documents”! On the desktop, you can put shortcuts to the necessary documents that you often use, but not the documents themselves. It is, of course, understandable that the desktop can be saved in the cloud, but it’s better to get used to storing everything in “Documents” in subfolders – this way there will be much less mess.

Services for storing and synchronizing files


Service for storing and synchronizing files, serving as a file system for other Google services. Allows you to sync files between your online account, computers and mobile devices. There is a version history, OCR, a powerful online viewer, search. Provides 5 GB free of charge


Service for online storage of documents and collaboration with them.Contains Web versions of Microsoft editors (Word, Excel,
PowerPoint, OneNote). The web version of Excel allows you to simultaneously
edit documents in real time. Allows you to share or publish files and folders. You can leave comments on files. Provides 7GB free, maximum file size 50MB. Works via a web interface, on Mac and PC, on smartphones


Web service + desktop client for win, linux, mac. Synchronizes folders with the server and other computers.Allows you to set up shared folders for collaboration or a public folder available to everyone. Uses Amazon’s S3. 2GB – free. There is a business version


Yandex cloud storage. Allows you to synchronize them between computers and mobile devices, create shared folders for joint work with files


Cloud file storage service. Knows how to sync files between your computers and mobile devices (iOS and Android). There are built-in document editors.Large amount of free storage.


Virtual hard drive for collaborating on office documents (using Zoho integrated services) and images (using Picnik). Has an open platform for developers. Works great with mobile devices, integrates into MS Office. Business class security.


Online file system integrating editors of text (Zoho Writer), spreadsheets (Zoho Sheet) and presentations (Zoho Show).Document editors are convenient, fast and multifunctional. Supports import and export in many formats, incl. pdf. Excellent functionality for collaborating on documents. It is possible to synchronize files with a desktop


Service for synchronizing files on several computers, online
backup and file sharing on the server. Unlimited volume
memory. Synchronizes files instantly as soon as they are created or
edited. Allows you to synchronize documents with Google Docs


Cloud storage for users of Apple devices and services


Fully managed secure service for creating, storing and collaborating with content.Integration with Microsoft Office for document collaboration. Integration with Active Directory, the ability to flexibly regulate access to individual files and folders


Allows you to store files on the server and synchronize them on computers of several users. There is a desktop (Win, Mac) and a mobile client (IPhone, Android, Win), web access. The data is encrypted. There are business accounts with the ability to administer users.


Online file server with version control, auto-backup, powerful search.Completely secure


Service for automatic online backup and storage of files. The admin panel allows you to create and manage user accounts. Version control. Free 2Gb is provided


Free service for storing files, it is notable for its small functionality (uploading, storing in folders, providing access to a file) and a large amount of memory (50GB). The service reserves the right to use the names and descriptions of files for the selection of contextual advertising.

90,000 Find in 60 seconds: how to store documents so as not to waste a lot of time searching

Several life hacks from the commercial director of the Megaplan company Viktor Shelike

Human memory, as you know, is imperfect, and its mechanisms are sometimes very mysterious. Sometimes we remember well how much a bottle of kefir cost twenty years ago, but we forget which folder on the computer last week we put the necessary document.Finding the files you need is time-consuming, tiring and annoying. Viktor Shelike, Commercial Director of Megaplan, spoke about how to cope with a mess in a computer and find a document in just one minute.


Victor Shelike , Commercial Director of the company
. Education: Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics, Moscow State University. He has been working at Megaplan since 2010, during this time he has gone from a sales manager to a commercial director.Megaplan specializes in the development of cloud automation systems for small and medium-sized businesses and is one of the leaders in the Russian market for CRM systems.

Wide choice costs

The problem of storing and organizing documents is relevant for any company. The more complex your projects and the more people work on them, the harder it is to keep the various folders organized. Often, even software products and technologies that seem to be designed to facilitate document flow only add to the confusion.

A common situation: one part of working documents is stored on personal computers of employees or in their personal laptops, the other – in “shared” folders on the server, the third – in e-mail, the fourth – in “cloud” services like Yandex.Disk, Google Drive or Dropbox, fifth – in messengers Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram … To find the desired document, you need not only remember when and for what reason it was created, but also check all possible file transfer channels.

Once, even before starting work at Megaplan, I was looking for a scan of an old contract with a client, communication with which took place mainly by e-mail. First, I had to remember all the contact persons of the client and the addresses of their mailboxes – there were four of them. Then, one by one, drive the addresses into the search for the mail client and view all letters with attachments for a certain period. To no avail. I started looking in the shared folder on the server, at the same time I went through all the files with names like “Scan03.pdf ”, dumped in a heap by colleagues … As a result, the document was found, but the search for it dragged on for several hours.

Search in context

To properly organize the storage of documents, you need to understand that any document has value only in the context in which it was created. For example, a contract with a client is important for a specific client and customer. The act of completed work is also tied to the context: the contractor, the type of work, the timing. Website layout is important in the context of an entire website building project.Then the task “find a document” is changed to the task “define the context and find the object for which this document was created.”

Most modern CRM systems work according to this principle (for example, CRM “Megaplan”). The context in them is at the forefront. CRM systems have the ability to create projects, tasks, create a customer base. You can attach files to each task from your computer or any disk storage. To find a contract for a client, just go to his card.In it you will see all the documents related to this client: contracts, closing accounts, etc. If you are looking for project documentation, then go to the project associated with a specific client, and all contracts, estimates, reports will be at a glance. There is no need to remember the name of the document; it is enough to define the context within which it was prepared. Even if the document is named with a mistake or incomplete name, you will still find it on the card. This approach greatly simplifies and speeds up the search: it will take you one or two minutes to find the file you need.

An important difference between Megaplan and other CRM systems is that the information entered into the system cannot be deleted. Documents attached to tasks, projects, clients, comments will be stored forever. If a document needs to be saved on a local disk or sent to someone by mail, it is enough to download it to your hard disk. At the same time, the space that documents take on the server is not limited in volume: it can be either 20 GB or 20 TB. It becomes possible to create a comprehensive archive of the company’s work in electronic form.The archive accumulates and cannot be damaged by accidental actions of the file owners.

Three principles of effective search

However, in order to search for a document – even outside the CRM system – it was enough just a few seconds, I recommend that you always follow the three principles.

  1. Avoid giving “default” names to folders and files , which do not carry any informational load.In the names of documents of the same type that you create regularly (for example, reports), adhere to the following system: first indicate the date, then the name. For example: “2017-05-18 Sales report.xlsx”.

  2. Carefully follow the names of incoming and outgoing documents , plying between your company and counterparties.

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