1) Stay on top of it! – Don’t let it pile up. I always say the more you dislike doing something the more often you should do it, especially filing. I use one file insert to hold all my ‘to file’ items. When it gets over half an inch thick, it’s time to sit down and file away. (I also use this time to reassess if I really need to save the items and usually at least 50% doesn’t make the cut.)
2) Keep your system simple- Start as broad as possible and create folders for smaller, more detailed categories if you need to. If there are 20 different files that a single sheet of paper could fit into, figuring out where to file it will be much harder, thus filing itself seems like more of a chore. For example, you may not need a separate file for each car you own. You can just use one folder labeled “auto” or “cars.”
3) Color code– Again, you want to keep it simple. I’d recommend just two or three to start and if you like it, you can expand. I use just two: pink for personal and blue for business.
4) Wait- Don’t buy anything or commit to any storage for your papers until you are totally done purging. You will probably find that you have way less to keep than you anticipated and likely won’t need that three drawer file cabinet you were going to order from Amazon.
5) Don’t kid yourself- Unless you are already set up with a scanner and have successfully scanned and electronically filed important papers in the past, please do not create a ‘to scan’ pile. File all the keepers the same way, in the category you would label them in a filing system. If you get around to scanning—great—if not, you have not set yourself up for disaster when you need to find one of those important documents in the future.