Organizing Tip: How to Set Up a Visual Filing System

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Need help putting your files in order?How to Set up a Visual Filing System

Why not try a visual filing approach?

In this post, I offer a slightly different way of organizing and identifying your physical files.

Here are a few tips to help you think outside of a regular folder!

Collect the files you want to organize.

Go to your filing cabinet and select 5 to 10 files to begin with; you can always add more to your system later on.

If you don’t have any files prepared as of yet, simply write down general information about the file.

You can include what the file is about, as well as any related company names, whether the file is a collection of bills or payments, records, informational documents, and so forth.

Choose a creative labeling convention.

We tend to organize files by file names, but there’s no reason you can’t use a visual approach to help put your documents in order.

What visual cues do you prefer: colors, images, or perhaps a combination of both?

For example, you could use different file folders to designate difference documents. You could assign orange for household affairs, green for financials, and blue for business.

You could match the color of logos or invoices with a similarly colored file folder, and you could even cut out the logos of different companies from old bills, and affix the logo to the outside cover or tab of a folder. You’ll immediately know which file is which.

Create a master file document.

Do you ever come across documents over the course of a year that make you say, “Huh? Where does this go? What is this?”

These items might be a quarterly financial statement, health report, or other such item that you really only tend to see every once in a while.

Combat this temporary confusion by creating a sort of guidebook or master identification chart for your files. For example, you could write down the specific name(s) of the document(s) you receive.

You could even go so far as to scan a micro-sized version of a previous statement for easy identification. You could create a master filing document, or create a mini-guide and affix to the inside of individual folders for easy and quick reference.

How about you? What sets of documents seem to puzzle you the most when it comes to filing? Join in 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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