top secret: the get-organized files

Forget Halloween—an overstuffed filing cabinet can be even scarier. Luckily, October isn’t just about celebrating our favorite spooky holiday…it’s also National Clean Out Your Files Month! And chances are you’re among the many who could use some renewed filing finesse. After all, when was the last time you looked through all of those files collecting dust? Or gave your computer desktop a much-needed clean sweep? This month is about paving a new paper trail and starting out fresh with filing.

Allison’s Paper Trail Tips:

It takes two. Keeping efficient files means creating two designated filing areas: “active” and “inactive.” Active files are those you refer to and/or update regularly (such as bills), while inactive files are important papers that may prove handy in the future (like mortgage documents). Keep the former in a desktop file sorter or inside your desk’s filing cabinet drawer, while the latter should be stored in your filing cabinet or a portable file tote.

Follow the four-month rule. To prevent file overload, give your cabinet a quarterly cleaning! (Translation: your shredder is your friend.) Reviewing files every four months will ensure that everything is up-to-date and that you’re purging unnecessary papers in a timely manner.

Keep piles at bay. Ever feel like your to-do list is piling up—literally? It might have something to do with those unorganized papers all over your desk. Go on pile patrol and create a “to-do” folder inside your active files where you can keep those papers in one handy place.

Allison’s Digital File “Dos:”

Start with a clean slate. Smart filing doesn’t stop with hard copies—it’s just as important to keep digital files organized on your computer! Do so by storing files in designated folders rather than cluttering up your desktop; not only will this approach make files easier to find, but it will also improve the speed and performance of your machine.

What’s in a name? A lot, when it comes to your computer. Help Sherlock find files quickly by making your file names specific and consistent. Having a system in place will help you deduce the contents of the document just by looking at the title—saving you time and effort!

Allison’s Must-Have Tools

File Cabinet: Say sayonara to the ugly, clunky metal cabinets of yore, and hello to lots of stylish new options.

File Tote: For those that don’t have enough inactive files to justify a whole cabinet, consider a portable file tote for easy access.

Desktop File Sorter: Keep active files at your fingertips with this handy filing tool!

Handy Hint

Take your digital filing a step further with a cloud-based service like Dropbox , which allows you to organize your files and easily access them from any device.

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