File System - How to Set Up an Organized Filing System
Is your file system organized? If not, then you need to check out the simple steps below to get your filing system organized as soon as possible.
Is your filing system organized or is it frustrating? Are you
having problems finding files and documents or remembering where the
files go? Do you have several files that contain similar information but
have different labels? If this all sounds too familiar then your filing
system is in a mess! :)
No worries, setting up an organized file system takes a little time
at first but you will save enormous amounts of time in the future after
it's set up. Follow the steps below to help you set up an organized
- 1. Plan & Prepare - If your filing
system isn't working for you then it is time to plan and create a truly
effective filing system. Putting labels on your folders are good but
this alone will not work. You need to plan and set up a filing system
that can accommodate any type of paper for home or office. All you
really need for supplies are several colors of 2/5 cut tab colored
folders, some hanging folders and file labels.
- 2. Create Broad File Categories - Start sorting your documents into
broad categories from your current file system or if you have a pile
of papers on your desk that you have been meaning to file for months.
Example: "Church Fundraising" or "Vacation Bible School" and more. These
are broad categories because there are many fundraisers such as
building, construction, missions, youth camp, etc. At this point, do not
focus on details of your filing system because right now it doesn't
matter what kind of fundraiser it is. We will worry about details a
little later on.
- 3. Subcategorize - After you have all your broad file categories (documents...) in piles pick one of them and sort through it again but this time break your paper down into smaller subcategories. Example: "Church Fundraising" could be divided into "Building", "Missions", etc.
Be as specific as possible this time. Don't create a category such as "Utilities" but specify which company (East Central Electric...) they belong to and break each one down into a separate pile by themselves. We want everyone to get his or her own separate folder. This definitely will make it easier and much quicker to find the file you need.
- 4. Color Code Each Major Category - Assign each major or broad category of paperwork a different color whichever you prefer and then put each subcategory into that color of file folder. After you get through with the folders then all of that major category folders will go into one file hanging folder if possible. Example: "Church Fundraising" might be yellow and each of your fundraising accounts (Building, Missions, Youth Camp...) will have a separate yellow file folder. This might seem strange but color-coding your file system will save you lots of your precious time in filing and retrieving your papers.
Just imagine looking into your filing system and seeing all your folders filled with paperwork broken down by colors neatly in hanging folders and knowing what color is your "Church Fundraising" and what color is your "Vacation Bible School" and finding your hand just naturally reaching for the correct part of your file drawer without much thinking at all - now that's organization! :)
- 5. Creating Labels - You need to label each subcategory file folder now that has their own color per broad category. Label one hanging folder per each major category stating the name (Church Fundraising, Vacation Bible School, etc.). I personally like the Smead Viewables Labels because you can see this label from the front, top or back of the folder and you can also print them from your computer which makes them easier to read and will help with organization. Do not create a label called "Visa" for your subcategory folder credit card because if you have more than one credit card they will be separated so keep them together by creating labels called "Credit Card: Visa". Now when you create more folders for credit cards they will be all together.
FYI: Remember to keep related files in close proximity with each other and do this with every grouping of files until you have labeled every file in each major category.
- 6. Filing Documents into Your Filing Drawer - This is your last step! All you have to do now is put your files within each major category in alphabetical order in hanging folders putting as many folders as you can in each hanging folder without overcrowding. Make your color folders line up as straight as possible in the drawer for easy reading.
When the time comes to find a document or to put something in a folder, just first look for the correct major category which is easily found by both the labels and the color.
With an organized file system it is easy to put your hands on the correct file without a lot of searching at all. I hope you find this filing system to be as easy for you as it is for me! I love it! :)
If you would like to receive access to the FreeChurchForms.com Table of Contents
that has all the free church forms, church certificates, church flyers, brochures,
baby shower invitations/games and more that are listed in alphabetical
order by category with links leading to the page to immediately download
just simply sign up for my free monthly newsletter below. You will also receive access to my free 14 Page eBook - "Top Ten Tips on How to Organize Your Office" as a Thank You Gift for signing up. Enjoy! :)
Return to Organizing Computer Files from How to Set Up an Organized File System.