Spring Cleaning- Refresh your filing system

Yay! Tax season is over. Spring is in the air. Now may be a great time to give your filing system a little Spring Cleaning. Here are some tips to keep your filing system working for you.

First, just a gentle reminder of the purpose of file folders versus hanging file folders. Hanging file folders have the metal hooks and the plastic tab sticking out, to help your eye locate quickly the category of all the contents in it (such as “Sara Health”), and for your finger to be able to quickly pull the tab open to reach the file folders inside. File folders hold all the contents inside, and sub-categorize, if necessary (such as a file folder for “Health Insurance” and another for “Gym”, both inside hanging file folder “Sara Health”). Mmmm…that felt good to geek out for a paragraph…thanks 🙂

Here are some of my favorite tips for filing:

  1. It’s best to label folders what you would think of when going to search for it in the future. So maybe “Divorce Crap” could be a more useful label for you than “2015 Divorce Documents”. Or for another example I label my hanging file folder “Bernardo” instead of “Automobile Documents”, because that’s the name of my car and what I think of when I’m thinking of him. Does this tip make sense?
  2.  Another tip is to place all your hanging file folder tabs in the same line (i.e. in the same slots inside the folder), instead of stratified or alternating. It’s been shown that the eyes reads and finds the label they’re looking for faster this way.
  3. As mentioned before, it’s also common agreement among professional organizers that pulling a tab toward you to open the hanging file folder and get to its contents, is better than pushing the tab back toward the back of the drawer. So this means inserting the hanging file folder tab in the front of the folder. Try it and see what you prefer.

A final note to share would be this: a simple maintenance routine is key to keeping your filing system in useful order. Ask yourself how and when you can commit to filing papers away that have piled up. Could you do it during the commercials of your favorite Thursday night show? Do you have another maintenance habit that you’re on top of, and could hitch this one onto it as well? Take a little time to think about how you’re going to maintain your filing system. This is key to living with a little more peace.

About Sara Luisa Valverde

Supporting people in organizing, time-management, and simplifying has always come naturally for Sara. She´s had the opportunity to hone this skillset in her professional career, most recently while supporting three (incredibly busy) senior professors at Harvard Business School, and while working within a clinical research team at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Since June 2015, she has worked as an independent yoga teacher, specializing in un-learning habitual posture patterns that get in one´s way. Sara honors the act of organizing as both an internal and external process. Her approach is to keep it simple, so you have the mental and physical space for maintaining clarity and peace of mind. She loves that her services in professional organizing bring together two passions: internal and external de-cluttering. She thrives on living a minimalist lifestyle, living as a full-time liveaboard on her beloved sailboat.

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