Before we got married, I dealt with my own files, and my husband dealt with his. Then we merged them without thinking much about it and I did the filing for a while. The hub didn't like my system, so he took over. I didn't like his system so I never filed anything. Stuff piled up. No one could find anything. Sound familiar?
So I went looking for an off-the-shelf filing option. I knew I wanted to have a gold-standard filing system that I could both use at home and recommend to clients without reservation. A system that was easy to implement, easy to personalize, and easy to use into the future. I read reviews, I watched YouTube videos, I went to every store in a 30-mile radius and checked out options in person. I know, it is a glamorous life!
The winner: FreedomFiler
I bought the "Self-Employed Filing Kit 1/5 Size," which includes labels for personal files and for a small business. The kit is basically a bunch of sheets of pre-printed labels and a big reference brochure that explains how to set it up.
I'm not gonna lie, it took me a few hours a day for a few days in a row to get this thing set up. Part of that time was because it was new to me and I was taking my time to make sure I totally understood it. Part of it was that I went through every single piece of paper in our existing files to make sure I tossed out absolutely everything I could.
A side benefit of putting the FreedomFiler in place - having an excuse to get rid of all that paper we really had no need for.
Which brings me to the "finding cabinet" concept. I have been listening lately to the Clutter Guys podcast, produced by a professional organizer in Connecticut. They had a great episode on paper clutter, where they described the typical filing cabinet as a place that paper goes to die. It is a colorful way to put it, but true - I think we often think we "have to file" a piece of paper, or that we "should save it" because it is important, but then we never go back in to retrieve it. Or, if we have a really important piece of paper, we don't put it in the filing cabinet because we know we'll never see it again.
How about making your filing cabinet a "finding cabinet" - a space that actually helps you to find what you need when you need it?
At the risk of sounding like a commercial, I feel like that is what I have done with the FreedomFiler system,
It is really easy to find everything now because it is all logically organized. Plus, it automatically tells you how long to keep each kind of item, and reminds you to throw out papers past their expiration dates. Unneeded papers no longer clog up the filing cabinet and make it hard to put in anything new. Bonus: since it's a neutral third-party system, neither my husband nor I can be annoyed at the other's terrible filing system!
If you are considering a new filing system, take a look at the FreedomFiler website and see for yourself. If you decide to purchase one, email me for a coupon code to get 15% off. It really is possible to make your filing cabinet a finding cabinet!