Jan 14, 2013

A very simple paperwork filing system



Today I want to share my very simple paperwork filing system.

I must begin by confessing that until a few years ago I was quite messy with my paperwork. Then I learned Mark Forster's filing system.

Here's how it works:

1: First of all you'll need:

- One (or more, if needed) ring binder;
- Many plastic sleeves (optional);
- One hole puncher.

2: Whenever you have something new to file, just punch holes in it, or put it inside one of the plastic sleeves (these plastic sleeves work well for small items, like receipts, or for documents that you don't wish to punch holes in), and then file it on top of all the documents already filed.

3: After you consult a filed document,  return it to the binder by filing it on top of all the other filed documents.

And that's it.

What happens is that the most used documents will always be at the front, easily accessible. And you'll have a good idea of where each file is, based on the time that has passed since you last consulted it.

I used this system for about 4-5 years for my general documents like bank statements, warranties, university letters, etc. I never lost anything, and could always find the important documents. Since this system is so simple, I always used it.

Eventually I had 3 binders with accumulated documents, which made the task of finding important documents a bit more difficult. So recently I decided to purge these 3 binders. I got rid of all the no longer needed documents, until everything could easily fit in just one binder. I then created the rule of never having more than one binder of filed paperwork!

I also created 5 categories: "Purchases and sales", "Health and identification", "University", "Finances and car", and "Others". I use the "filing on top rule" within each one of these categories so that I can continue to rapidly file and access the most used documents.

Easy and simple! Ideal for people who, like me, tend to procrastinate when using complex filing systems ;)


12 comments:

  1. Most definitely my organising weakness too but this sounds simple. I'll give it a go for work and home xo

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    1. I'm happy you liked the idea! :)

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  2. Brilliant idea. I have a slightly different filing system, but within categories, there is no order to the papers, so the most used ones sit at the front. I have mine in suspension files in a box in my living room. I have learnt that I am no good at putting things away in a folder, I just leave it on top and then a pile accumulates. Well done for finding something that works for you!

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    1. Yep, we must find what works for us. And when we do, let's stick to it ;)

      Your system sounds great too!

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  3. Mopsa, I LOVE this idea! I might start it straight away. It has to be better than filing my paper in a big pile on the floor and the shelf! See you in Sea Change.

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    1. Kel, I'm happy to see you here! And even happier to know that you liked this idea. Let me know how it works for you ;)

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  4. Oh my! This is brilliant. My current system is more of a "throw it all on the desk in complete chaos" system. This one seems much tidier. :)

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    1. That used to be my kind of system too. :P I'm happy you liked this idea!

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  5. I already do something very similar to this! But, in addition to the tabs (or categories) that you said, I also have one for fines.... :(

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    1. I would hide the fines in the "Finances" section, for example ;) Not that I have any!... o.O

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  6. Good thing this one works for you! Personally, I prefer a less complicated system too. I’ve seen people who obsessively add a lot of details to their paper storage. Anyway, as long as it works. To each his own! Ruby@Williams Data Management

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    1. Simple always works better for me too!

      Thanks for commenting :)

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