Organizing Tip: How Do I File Miscellaneous Items?

posted in: Organizing 2

Today’s post covers one of those great filing challenges:How to File Miscellaneous Papers

How to file items that don’t seem to belong anywhere.

These simple tips hold true for both paper and electronic filing.

Before we begin, thanks to N.S.I. for suggesting this blog topic!

Think about future retrieval.

Stressing out about where to file something?

Try asking yourself these straightforward questions:

  • Will I use the item frequently or infrequently? Will it be on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis?
  • Will this item be used for reference only?
  • Will I need to use this item for personal or work purposes?

Group like with like.

Filing doesn’t necessarily have to follow a linear pattern, such as alphabetizing items by company or project.

Consider branching out sideways. How can you file items based on existing files, or how you normally work?

For example, if you want to file a hotel rewards card and correspondence, you might file them with:

  • The bills for that specific hotel chain
  • Other travel rewards cards for hotels, car rentals, airlines, train, or commuting
  • General rewards items such as free coupons, gift certificates, two-for-one purchases
  • Specific work travel/project items

You could also enter the information into your address book, or other information app in your cell phone, smart phone, tablet, or computer for easy reference

Consider whether you need an item.

Lastly, it’s important to consider whether or not you need to hold onto an item. If you can’t think of a solid reason as to why you’d need to retrieve an item at a later date, you may want to rethink holding on to that item in the first place.

Maybe it’s about time to finally trash, shred, or recycle the item in question.

How about you? What part of filing miscellaneous items is the most difficult? What filing/sorting methods work for you? Join the conversation and leave a comment below! 

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 3 Smart Steps to Organizing Your Home, by clicking here.
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2 Responses

  1. tgillet1
    |

    Great post! Making a note of an item in some electronic organizational system is definitely a good plan. I was thinking though, if a particular item really could (or even should) go in multiple locations, you could make one or several cue-cards containing some basic information about the item and where it is located/filed and then put those cards in those alternative locations. I just thought of this recently so I haven’t tried it. I came up with the idea when trying to think of a way to use “labels” or “tags” for real-world items in a ways similar to G-mail.

    I’m sure I’m not the first to have this idea, but I can’t specifically remember if or where I have seen it. It does remind me of some stores (like a game store) where you find the shell or description of what you’re looking for, but the actual physical item is held behind the counter.

    • theorderexpert
      |

      Thanks! Yes, it can’t hurt to make a note of where you’ve re-filed or moved an item, particularly if you know that you won’t touch said item for many weeks, months or years.
      Thanks again for reading and for your comment!