How to set up a home filing system

Stacks of supplies and paperwork in the office and bookshelves

Stacks of supplies and paperwork in the office and bookshelves

Whether you are fortunate enough to work fully remotely or you have rotational days where you work in the office, the truth is, many of us work from home.

We all know how an organised space can lead to a productive life. And as you wrap up the year, there’s no better time to set up a home filing system that works for you. Here are a few ideas:

Gather all your documents

Pile all your documents together. This gives you a better idea of how much filing is required, and how far back the date should go. Sort through the pile and arrange them on a table according to their respective months. This is a great starting point as all paperwork will be in one place.

Sort through them

If you have a huge pile of paperwork, you may come across some that are outdated and not needed as well as those you need to keep. If there is any sensitive information, ensure you resort to document shredding as simply tearing them up could cause them to fall into the wrong hands. Other documents you may need to archive – they are documents that must be kept but that you do not always use.

Arrange them accordingly

Now is the time to decide how you want to file the paperwork. You may prefer that it be arranged by months or years or you may file them based on certain projects and invoices. Whichever you choose, make sure that you will easily be able to locate them should a client call you to make an inquiry about a previous invoice or project.

Decide on how much room you need

Based on all the documents you were able to sort through, you should have an idea about how much space and office equipment you need for storing and filing. For instance, a combox, available in various colours, can safely store a ream of printed paper. It can also withstand 80kg of pressure per box and allows for fast and easy retrieval of documents. You may only need two or three of these boxes or you may need several more – this will depend on how much filing is required.

Do this frequently

Now that you’re organised, try not to let your paperwork pile up, cluttering your office and causing you to go into a state of panic and overwhelm. Set a time every few weeks or months to store and file your paperwork and keep them organised. You may feel comfortable doing so next time in January, as this is usually a time where people feel motivated to do their best and commit to tackling their resolutions.

What may work for someone else may not work for you. File based on how best you work – if you love visuals and they help you remember things, then colour-coded comboxes would be perfect for you. It’s all about creating a process that works best for you. Good luck!