Some of these categories warrant their own separate file. Some, like your important numbers, can be combined. For the more important documents, you may want to keep the originals in a safe or in a safe-deposit box, and keep available copies in your files.
- Avoid Lower Moravia: The most common error people make when creating a filing system is to come up with categories that are too specific. For example, a file titled “Travel articles about Lower Moravia” won’t fit well in your system unless you’re definitely planning on going there or you’re writing your master’s thesis on this topic. If you continue in this vein, you’ll be overrun with file folders in no time, and you’ll have a heck of a time ever finding anything — if you ever want to. Start with fewer, broader categories.
- Never put all your papers in one basket: I suggests that you have four baskets for your paper (in addition to the extremely important wastepaper basket):
- A To Do basket: The wire see-through kind works best.
- A To Pay basket: Again, wire works best here.
- A To File basket: Use a larger wicker basket.
- A To Read basket: Try an even larger wicker basket with handles.
- Make filing a habit: Find a time during the week to empty your To File basket and file those needed papers away. This task really shouldn’t take long — 15 or 20 minutes should do it.
- Fine-tune later: At a later date, take a look at what’s in your files. Usually, you find that a file is either underused or bulging. If you find that you have only one or two things in a file folder, find or create a file that’s broader in scope. Alternatively, if you find that a folder is overflowing with contributions, create subcategories, either by topic or by dates.