Organizing Papers: Daunting But Doable
Organizing paper can be daunting, especially when you have a giant pile of it and it’s overwhelming. The key is just getting started. Today we’re going to be breaking down my systems for calming the chaos when it comes to file storage and organization.
A powerful tool when organizing paper is the 43-folder system. In this system, you have one folder for each month. Within each month are folders 1–31 — one for each day. Hanging folders work best, because you’re going to be putting other folders, invites, just anything that’s related to specific dates that you can’t or would rather not scan, but need to keep a hold of. If it’s client work, you can use this system in conjunction with a CRM reminder so you can go into the date and have everything waiting for you.
For current projects, you’ll have a ladder file folder where scribbled notes, print outs, whatever it is, so it’s self-contained. If it’s something for the future, consider a 44th folder that you can revisit when the time comes.
Bank statements and receipts need their own system as well. Consider a folder that has 12 subsections, one for each month. This allows you to put every single month’s bank statement, as well as an envelope with all your dated receipts, inside that folder. When everything is done and taken care of, you can clear those folders out (be sure to check with your accountant before you do that!).
You can always utilize digital tools for long-term storage like G-Suite and Dropbox, but if you’re keen on using the paper method, especially with client files that were a no-go or have been dormant, you can purchase boxes from an office supply store and label them with the appropriate information. Be sure to keep these safe, and when they start to pile up, go through the files and eliminate those that no longer serve a purpose.
What systems do you have to organize paper files? Do you prefer to keep everything digital? Let me know!