How to Organize File Cabinets

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Things You Need:

  • File cabinet
  • Hanging folders
  • Manila folders
  • Folder labels
  • Fine-tipped marker

It doesn't matter how tidy the rest of your home or office is; if your file cabinet is messy, your efficiency will be hindered. Whether you're preparing to do your taxes or you're doing spring cleaning, organizing your filing cabinet is worth the time it takes. If you keep your important files in an easy-to-find location, you'll always be able to access them quickly. Follow these steps to make sure your filing cabinet is organized.

Organizing Your File Cabinets:

  1. Organize your paperwork. Organize your paperwork in a way that works for you. It's your paperwork, so it's important that you be able to find information quickly. Collect all bills, credit card statements, insurance papers, and any other paperwork that you have piling up in drawers or on tables and shelves. One way to begin organizing your papers is to arrange them by subject and name. It's a good idea to put these papers into the manila file folders right away. After you have separated them by subject and name, you may want to consider arranging them by date. This filing system can keep you current on your bills, invoices, and other transactions.

  2. Prepare your filing cabinet. If you already own a home office file cabinet, you'll want to make sure it's in good shape. Make sure the drawers slide properly; you may want to oil them before you start filling your cabinet. Be sure that it's clean before you begin putting anything in it. Stained or crumpled paperwork does not look professional. You may want to have a fireproof box for personal paperwork that would be hard to replace, such as social security cards, birth certificates, car titles, tax papers, or life insurance papers.

  3. Prepare your folders. Label your hanging folders with categories based on the way you sorted your paperwork in step 1. You can set up your computer to print the labels or you can use a fine-tipped marker to create your own. The manila file folders located inside the hanging folders can be used for more specific categories. Add as many or as few manila folders as you want. You can have a folder for any category needed.

  4. Keep your receipts. It's a good idea to keep the receipts for bills that you have paid. Consider keeping a separate folder for payment receipts and statements in your file cabinet.

  5. Keep your files safe. For your security, get a filing cabinet with a lock and remember to use it. A good lock will help keep your most personal information and files out of the wrong hands, leaving you with peace of mind. Identity theft is a real problem in today's world, and by taking preventative measures you can increase your identity's safety.

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