Effectively Ways to Organize Your Paper Files –Only 4 Steps

  • by HeSona

Whether in the office or at home, if you don't organize and tidy up your paper files accumulate for a long time, it will become messier and messier. And it's hard to tell which documents to keep and which to throw away.


In fact, as long as we formulate a tidying plan and adopt some scientific tidying and storage methods, we can quickly and effectively tidy up and store them, which is much easier than imagined.

Here are only 4 steps to help you effectively organize your paper files.

Step one : Organize Files by Type

It will improve your work efficiency after the classification of your documents to be away from turmoil, and a revolving world and make a tidy, refreshing office environment. Document classification, will make you find your available required resource fast, simply at any time.

1.1 Check and record paper files

First of all, you need to go through all the files one by one, determine the type of the file, and classify it. You can take a pen and write it down on paper while looking at it.

For example, you can record grocery store receipts as "living expenses". If a document has a lot of content and contains a lot of information, please indicate it next to it.

1.2 Set file classification

According to the file information you have clarified in the previous step, set the file category, and then each category has a folder.

Set the categories in detail, which should not only include all the files recorded but also considered the files added in the future.For example bills, family, health, work/business, education, etc.


1.3Different colors for your paper file box

Use file box holders with different colors to help identify them faster and more easily. For example, green folders contain various bills, red folders represent personal items, and blue folders represent medical related.


1.4Clean up expired files

Check the file again to make sure there are some documents no longer used and throw them in the trash after shredding them with a grinder.  For the unsure file to discard, you can keep them as electronic documents.


1.5Put the documents into file boxes

According to personal needs, choose a suitable file box to put all the sorted files. If there are too many files, such as in the office, a special file cabinet may be needed for storage. For families and other places with relatively few documents, one box will do it.


Step two: Assess File Content to Determine Importance

Paper files have higher reliability and stronger vitality in the era of data management,  more reliable than electronic files. After sorting, the importance of files should be marked, to be kept properly.

2.1. Determine the validity period

Some documents, although important, may only need to be kept for a few weeks, while others may need to be kept for decades.

So we can check time-sensitive documents such as bank records, warranty cards, etc. every few weeks. If it is past the expiry date, it can be thrown away.


2.2 Destruction or save the paper file

Banks will produce many documents, such as account opening agreements, credit card statements, deposit slips, and withdrawal slips. Except for deposit slips that need to be kept, other documents can be destroyed after verification. Sensitive information, remember to shred it.

Insurance policies are generally very important and need to be kept for a long time. However, for expired policies or old policies that have been replaced, there is no preservation value, and can be thrown away.

If you have family or personal income tax certificates, keep them for as long as possible unless you are sure they have no use.

Important documents such as birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, and wills should be kept for a long time, and they should be kept in a dry environment to prevent moisture return. Pack it in a plastic file bag to prevent folding or fraying.

Step three :  How to Storage the Paper Documents

After the paper documents are sorted they should be classified according to the categories of the documents. The more detailed the better, the meaning and use of this category should be written clearly with sticky notes.

3.1 Prepare for storing tools

Proper storage methods can ensure that documents are neat and orderly, and they are kept relatively safe. You can choose suitable storage tools in need, such as black markers, sorted folders, different color labels, file boxes, filing cabinets, file folders, label paper, hole punches, etc.


3.2 Put a label on each paper file box

You can put a label on the prepared new folder, write the type of file stored in the folder, and write it with a marker for best identification. Labels can be left blank so they can be painted in a different color for quick identification.


3.3 Sort paper file folders

You can sort many folders according to certain rules. such as, by alphabetical order, or by category.

Multiple sorting is also possible, such as sorting by category first, and then sorting by date in the same category.

3.4 Take out common files

If you use documents every day or often, don't rush to put them in the storage box. These files can be placed on the desktop, or other places that are easily accessible, so that they are convenient to use.

It is best to label the commonly used folders for identification or use color identification, so that they can be easily identified

Step four :  How to Keep the Paper File Safe

In the process of daily storage and utilization, paper files are easily affected by their own factors, adverse environmental conditions and human factors, and will suffer from various damages, such as dirt, cracks, paper damage, insects, and handwriting fading wait.

In the slightest, it will affect the identification and appearance, and in the worst case, it will affect the life of the file or even make it unusable.

Therefore, archivists must pay attention to the preservation and restoration of paper archives.

4.1. Check the paper file regularly

As time goes by, many files will be worn out and damaged, so you  should pay attention to protecting files, especially important files. If found damaged, remember to repair or copy, etc.

4.2 Distinguish paper file more finely

Over time, there will be more and more files in the file classification.The previous classification can be further classified into many sub-types. For example, finances are divided into expenditure and income.

4.3 Create your digital document protection

Scanning paper documents into electronic documents allows us to view them anytime, anywhere.

At the same time, electronic documents can also be edited, such as adding or deleting text, inserting pictures or notes, which not only facilitates personalization, but also improves the readability and usability of documents.


Files are saved in computer or cloud storage space, which saves a lot of physical storage space and is easy to group together. shared document 

The above is about sharing suggestions on how to organize paper documents well. Jiawei-World provides high-end cardboard magazine file boxes and holders, which can organize your life and office better.

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