Over the past year, I have helped several clients to update their personal filing systems. They were very happy with the results and many had not used this type of 3-D filing system before. When the project was complete, they had pretty and more importantly, organized filing systems.
Last week I decided it was my turn. So tada…I now have an organized filing system as well. I used the same3-D system I suggested and used for my clients. You can learn about the complete filing system here.
The purpose of this post is to share the end result of my personal filing system and to explain how important it is to have a system that is developed for one’s personal organization style. I will show a picture of the way the files look when complete but if I cannot do so without showing the tabs for my personal accounts, I will use stock photos. The only reason for that is privacy. I do hope you will understand.
Note: After trying to format my personal files, I decided too much of the private information could not be blurred. Therefore I am using a stock photo. To explain my personal color scheme, I used blue folders for both file drawers and black printed 3-D labels. Because my titles are so specific, I did not need to color code the 3-D labels.
While some people work better with a more generic filing system, such as Credit Cards, House Bills, Medical, etc., others, like myself, prefer a more intricate system i.e., American Express, Discover, Electric, Water, Gas, Dr. Smith, Dr. Johnson, etc. Therefore, my files are more intricate (thusly the reason for privacy with the photos).
There are several reasons for the intricate breakdown of my files:
- I prefer to reach for one file if research is required instead of going through one file folder that has several files (you have more than one bill and all are filed in one folder).This makes it more cumbersome to find older invoices if required.
- I prefer to have my files color coded by specification, i.e., personal, household, medical, etc.
- I prefer complete separation by subject, broken down further by name, etc. This system requires more thought up front and more files, but it is necessary for my personal organizational style.
- Having the specification breakdown makes it easier to archive files annually and be able to retrieve years later if necessary.
- Filing by title instead of month or year works best for me because many invoice/receipts could come in during a monthly period and if I had to research a certain invoice/receipt I would have to go through each month until I found the item in question. If files are labeled by vendor it is much easier to track. Again, a personal choice.
- I am not a visual filer which means I don’t like files on my desk. I prefer to have my files put away and in desk drawers and out of sight. And because that is the case, they need to be broken down into specific categories for ease of access. Even open projects are filed away. Some people prefer to have open/current projects housed on top of the desk. This is called visual filing.
These are my personal reasons for the specific breakdowns of my personal files; however, there are others who prefer more broad filing specifications and as a professional organizer I advise my clients to choose the system that works best for their personality. If not it will be a pretty system but it will be useless and unused. We naturally shun systems that are uncomfortable or are in opposition to our personality style.
As for my system, what used to be four filled-to-the-brim file drawers, is now two drawers of current files, both personal and professional and one drawer that houses extra file folders and a fourth drawer that houses other office supplies. I have truly used my little shredder to the max this month which has alerted me to the fact that I need a much better shredder as well. Sigh…I intend to invest in a new shredder soon. But on the other hand…Yaaaaay! I am so happy with my new file drawers.
Do you need some help setting up or revising your filing system? I can help. Contact me for a free 15-minute file system consultation.
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