How to organise your filing system

I don't know anyone who enjoys filing, and I think that's why so many of us struggle with it!

Life is already so busy it feels like just opening the mail and paying bills is enough on our To Do lists, let alone having to file the paperwork in a way that makes it easy to come back to weeks, months, or even years later.

Lost paperwork can mean late payments on bills, paying for duplicates of certificates, repair costs on appliances and missed opportunities at work and in life.

But organising your paperwork and filing system is a big job, and no one likes the idea of having to put a whole day aside to do it!

If your current method of filing is to dump new papers on top of a pile of old ones, tell yourself you tackle it later, and then get frustrated when you can't find the paper you need, it's time to set up an easier way.

Here's how I organise my filing system in 3 simple steps:

Gather all papers together.

You know there are random papers all over the house! Walk through each room, pick up everything you see (piles, papers stuck on the fridge, crumpled notes in school bags) and bring it all together on a big clear space like your dining room table or your bed.

Sort into categories.

This part feels the most overwhelming but once you start, it becomes methodical and almost soothing. Pick up your papers one by one and sort them into catergories, throwing papers you don't need into the recycling as you go. 

To make it even easier, write your file labels first and then use them to sort quickly and easily into piles.

You can use my simple category list here if you like!

Attach your labels to your hanging and manilla folders

I like to use a hanging file for each main category and a manilla file for each subcategory (putting the manilla files inside the applicable hanging file), but you might want a hanging file for each subcategory if you have a lot of paperwork. 

However you do it, the most important thing is to make sure the file labels are clear and easy to read. 

Put them in.

Keep this part really simple - just pick up each categorised pile and put the papers into the hanging file.

You don't have to organise these perfectly by date at this point unless you really want to and have plenty of uninterrupted time to do so.

The goal right now is to make it easy to file as new paperwork comes in, and easy to retrieve paperwork as you need it.

When you have time or are feeling up to another organising session, you can come back and sort through a file at a time, putting them in date order, and adding more subcategories if needed.

I hope you found these tips helpful! If you're ready for next steps in organising, you might want to watch my free workshop 3 Quick things to do today to get organised, even when you have kids!

x Marissa