How to Organize Home Office Filing System?

Filing system
Arranged filing system (Source: Pixabay)

I have always been a massive fan of organizing my workspace. It helps me to keep track of my work which relieves the anxiety of future projects. 

Even though an office setup is where you usually indulge in long work hours, a well-managed home office can increase your productivity.

It removes the tedious job of searching for a specific file when you are already in a rush. Therefore, helping you maintain a good speed of work.

Over the years, I have dived deep into hundreds of videos and blogs, which have assisted me in creating a stable home office filing system.

A sound home-office filing system consists of meticulous management of files, letters, and paperwork. Your filing system must be accessible, compact, flexible, simple, and well-categorized. Essentially, it should not be difficult to remember what data is placed where and in what order. 

Organized files
A well-sorted file cabinet (Source: Unsplash)

This article will guide you through valuable practical tips and tricks for everyone. Then, you can create a home office filing system that is precisely curated to your occupation and lifestyle.

Why is Home Office Filing System Necessary?

Before we discuss how to build an effective system, we must learn why it is necessary in the first place.

1. Boosting up your efficiency

If your system is up to date and sorted in chronological order, you can spend quality time solving the problem at hand.

In addition, the time for finding a specific document is shortened. Hence, efficiency increases drastically.

Compared to your office, files at home are usually more vulnerable. You may easily misplace your files with other documents and forget about them.

Sometimes, your kids may mess around with these files when you are not at home.

Searching files made easier
Searching files in a managed filing system (Source: Pexels)

If you don’t put them safely, they can collect dust, be mishandled, and get damaged. Furthermore, this hinders you from making ethical decisions on time.

So, a home office filing system helps you to stay as productive as possible.

It keeps your right on track without having you flip through piles of paperwork, left and right, for hours. As a result, you stay organized and in control.

2. Record Keeping

Every move made in a business needs some physical or digital documentation.

You should keep your contracts with the organization safely at home to decrease the chances of miscommunication and fraudulent activities.

In addition, documents mentioning various agreements, deals, transactions must also be protected.

Again, it is because these documents act as a permanent record of your work or your business.

Filing helps to preserve vital files permanently. So, if you ever get into a legal dispute, you can readily have all the documentary proof prepared.

We will quickly see past mistakes, which helps us avoid them in the future. Hence, the filing also helps in the formulation of plans for the future.

A sound filing system will give you a clear idea regarding the fulfillment of your legal obligations.

These legal formalities include income tax, documentation of value-added tax, insurance, etc., to name a few.

Legal formalities organized
Filing is done for legal documents (Source: Burst)

So, you can never forget to carry out these tasks on time, whether at home or work.

With a proper idea of how much is needed to be done or has been done, we can ensure that we won’t face legal difficulties in the future. Moreover, every vital record can be used as a reference in the future.

It is our absolute responsibility to remain transparent to the government.

All the people who should access information can do so without difficulty due to the convenience of proper filing.

4. Building a Good Image

Consumers don’t gravitate towards a company that frequently requests copies of past transactions or past complaints. In the age of quick technology, no one has the time to do that. 

When all documents are sorted, customer feedback is effectively visible. Hence, decisions are made swiftly, and complaints are handled on time.

You can keep copies of complaints that haven’t been solved yet in your home office. This allows you to view and make updates whenever possible.

Once you have a virtuous profile, you may get better promotions. If you run a business, this can charm a talented workforce to join your team. 

5. Planning and Controlling Decisions

The basic rule in any business is to avoid mistakes. For this, we must learn from our past errors.

Plans for the future must only be formulated after monitoring previous records. Filing helps us in the same regard.

Plans and policies based on records will have better results. Besides, it prevents us from repeating or duplicating the same misunderstandings. 

You will also be able to forecast future profits or losses using this reference. Our business and organization will continue to reach new heights from proper filing mechanisms.

Filing helps you have a firm grip on the present and future of your work. It gives you control.

Hence, filing allows you to monitor past actions and make correct decisions promptly. You will also be able to follow up on previous blunders and solve them.

Some Equipments Used for Filing System

 Equipments Uses
1Filing cabinetStoring physical files, folders, and binders.
2Clip folderStoring documents, paperwork, notes, and more.
3RegisterRecords of file usage and the placement of the file.
4Date stampDating files, mails, proposals, approvals, and others.
5Box fileStoring large files with related information.
6Suspension fileSorting files within drawers or small spaces.
7External devicesBacking up digital data permanently.
8ServersAllowing many people to access the same file.

Tips to Organize Filing System for Your Home Office

Now we can jump right into the management tips. This section covers the paper sorting aspect of a filing system. 

1. Color-Code Your Files

Colors add a visually appealing factor to your filing system. You are more likely to remember your file locations if they are color-coded.

Research shows that your brain is also more attracted to colorful supplies, so you might be more productive using them.

Folders
Colored Folders (Source: Amazon)

You can essentially color-code your files into four categories: working, drafts, archive, and household.

 CategoriesPurpose
1WorkingFiles that you are currently working on.
2DraftsWorks that are pending or need approvals.
3ArchiveFiles of completed projects.
4HouseholdFiles that concern family health, taxes, and so on.

You can find these folders on amazon.

You can creatively color code your files using Colorful sticky notes. Also check other article: How to Use Sticky Notes Creatively for your Home Office?

2. Label Your Files

Labels are words or phrases which represent the characteristics of your files. It is a simple, flexible tool that allows you to have a hassle-free file search.

Think about the size of the letters and the use of singular or plural terms. In addition, you should consider: Are you going to use nouns, verbs, adjectives, or perhaps a combination of all?

Are you going to capitalize the letters? Again, consistency is vital for easy finding.

If you have made a lengthy list of labels, you want to use, having a note of them will help you keep track of them. You can even label your files within the color-coded folders.

The following list may provide you with some background on labeling your files.

  • Inspiration: These include reference files or articles used in projects.
  • Main files: Files regarding your main task.
  • Expenses: This one is for files related to finance, Eg-Health insurance, and taxes. 
  • Record: This one is mainly for the archive folder to distinguish files needed to be permanently stored.

3. Use Binders

You may prepare various binders for situations when you are in a rush or even during emergency cases.

For example, if you have an urgent meeting in the morning; you can grab the binder with the necessary files and get going. 

You can make binders for medical emergencies so that you have data of someone’s medical history at once. The method can also do the same for financial works or event plannings.

As mentioned above, you can keep the files needed for a meeting in a binder the day before. So, even if you run a bit late, you can be assured that you have all the necessary details at hand.

Binder
Binders (Source: Amazon)

You can find binders on amazon.

Read More: How to Bind Papers Without Binding Machine?

4. Arranging Stationery Products

Stationery is one of the most essential yet easily misplaced items in an office.

Therefore, you need to dedicate a drawer in your desk or your cabinet for stationery items only to categorize them.

Once you have done that, you can go through all the things you currently possess.

For example, you can use dividers for your drawers, numerous plastic baskets for your cabinet, and holders for items on your desk.

Stationery
Organizing stationery (Source: Unsplash)

Put all similar items in one place. For example: keep all the pens in one basket or keep the staplers and stapler pins in one place. This keeps your space tidy. 

You can even find see-through plastic baskets that will help you to organize your color pens and highlighters. Also, make sure that you have extra supplies for the things that you use the most.

Lastly, put a label or tag on the holders so that you find your things quickly. 

Here are some amazon links- holders, drawer dividers, plastic baskets/tubs.

5. Organizing Personal Files

You might use folders or binders for this. There is no hard and fast rule for this. So, you can use one or more folders to store these documents.

The primary purpose is to categorize files needed to be well-protected. For example, you may want to keep all your credentials in one big file and store it in a secure place like a vault or safe.

You should safely preserve other personal files, including identification, birth certificates, and so on.

You can also store business cards from your clients or significant phone numbers in one big folder. 

Other Organizing Tips for your Home Office

This section provides details on appropriate storing spaces and their uses.

1. Using Cabinets

Cabinets are a basic necessity of any office. You can invest in a cabinet that fits the aesthetic of your room. But, make sure that the cabinet has enough space to put all your files.

Cabinet for home office
Cabinet for a home office (Source: Amazon)

It’s even better if you can find a fireproof cabinet with a safe or lockbox built in it.

This will assure you that your files remain guarded at all times.

You can put your most important files in the safe or vault and organize the rest in drawers and shelves.

But, preferably, it would be best if you placed the cabinet near to your working station. 

It would be best if you had a clear map of which documents go in which area. Don’t just throw all your documents into the cabinet. It can be done according to your needs and preferences.

Here are some file cabinets recommendation for your home office.

ProductSpecificationImage
Bush Furniture Cabot 2 Drawer Lateral File CabinetEspresso Oak, ANSI/BIFMA standards, 2 drawers, 30.16" x 60lb. Holds letter, legal, and A4 files
DEVAISE Wood File Cabinet2 large drawers with lock, 23.6" W x 15.7" D x 29.3" H, 220lbs, eco-friendly wood material
Bonnlo 2-Drawer Lateral File Cabinet35.5"W x 17.7"D x 28.75"H, 330lb, center lock system, one-year warranty
HON Brigade 600 Series File CabinetChoose from 2-5 drawers, Clean metal finish, heavy-duty, 18 x 36 x 39.13 inches
Storex Plastic Two-Drawer File CabinetPolished plastic, removable casters, fits all sizes of files, 18-1/4 x 14-3/4 x 25-1/2 Inches
Lorell 14341 18 Deep 2-Drawer File CabinetTwo drawer file cabinet, Steel construction, glide suspension, 14.3" x 18" x 24"

Discover more on: Are File Cabinets Fireproof?

2. Wall Space Uses

Most of us buy cabinets to increase our storage space, but wall space can also be well utilized.

For example, you can primarily use walls to hang calendars, shelves, whiteboards, metal grids, and more. 

Utilization of wall space
Use of wall space (Source: Unsplash)

If your desk faces a wall, you can use the extra space for reminders, notes, calendars, and whiteboards. This way, you will be reminded time and again about your tasks and deadlines.

Some people also like to hang up motivational quotes or family pictures. 

These days, shelves and metal wall grids are also popular in home offices. We can use these shelves to store stationery supplies or even books.

In a wall grid, you can add pictures, badges, to-do lists, sticky notes, and so on. But, of course, it would be best if you organized it according to your liking.

Discover more on: What is the Best Wall Color for Home Office?

3. Add a Mail Station

If you have enough space in your home office, a mail station can add more control over the papers that come in or go out.

You may use a small desk or shelf for this. In addition, your printer can go in this area.

Separate your mail into incoming and outgoing. Similarly, you can do this for all your family members as well. You can make a plan for the placement of the mail.

After you have organized your mail in this order, you might never want to go back to your old habits. This is a simple yet effective way to organize mail as soon as they come in.

Then, you will never misplace your stuff with your family members and never forget to send mail on time.

4. Add a Trashing Station

Suppose you don’t manage your trash files or other unnecessary items in your home office. Soon, you will collect a huge pile of mess that can’t is decluttered easily.

A trashing station doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to dedicate a large area for it. For example, if you have a desk with free space beneath it, add some trashcans there. Then, on the desk, you can make space for your shredder.

Trash Can
Trash Can(Source: Pexels)

You can add two containers; one for paper and one for other junk. Having an excellent disposing system is essential to remove unwanted litter.

After organizing this space, please go through the files collected once a week and shred or discard them.

5. Keep Your Desk Organized

Your desk must be the most organized place in your home office.

It is the place where you work on projects and make crucial decisions. So, a messy desk can overwhelm you while working.

Unorganized desk
Messy desk (Source: Unsplash)

You can use pen holders with multiple sections as well as utilizing your drawer space.

The items that you used the most must be kept on the desk. These include your computer setup, lamps, pens, sticky notes, and calendars, to name a few.

Most people have a drawer in their desks. You can use this space to put your folders, binders, cards, and extra stationery supplies.

Don’t forget to put the things back in their designated areas after use. Once a week or so, go through your stuff on your desk and throw out pens that don’t work, unneeded papers, etc.

Also, wipe your desk, keyboard, mouse, and phones using disinfectant wipes now and then. A clean working area helps to stay focused for longer hours.

If you want to make your desk look minimalist, well we have a perfcet masterpiece for you.

Go thorugh: How can I Make my Home Office Desk Look Minimalist?

How to Organize Electrical Filing System? 

Today’s technological advancement has also allowed us to go digital with our documents. Most people prefer to go paperless these days.

Storing digital files takes less time and effort; however, these files are still vulnerable.

Here are some tips for managing your electrical filing system.

  • Your most crucial documents must be backed up using external drives and cloud storage.
  • Check emails daily and sort them as needed. You should view and delete unimportant emails once a month.
  • Like you trash old files, you should also review your desktop once every two weeks and delete unused and unwanted files.
  • You can use as many wireless devices as you want to reduce the number of cables and wires in your way. Using a USB hub can also significantly reduce cable clutter.
  • You can prevent fires and short circuits by using surge-protected power bars to plug in your remaining cable.

Conclusion 

Files and documents are a massive part of our office, and taking care of them is our responsibility. You can’t focus if you have a vast pile of paperwork waiting to get decluttered.

The secret to success also lies in how you organize your personal and professional life.

Hence, filing is an essential skill in today’s world. The faster you start working on organizing your work, the better performance you will have. In addition, your success will also reach new heights.

I hope this article has provided you with all the key points to remember while setting up your home office filing system.

After that, you have to experiment with different techniques before finding something that works best for you.

Make sure that you incorporate the best methods. You will have a systematic filing system in no time!

Read more: 10 Reasons why your desk is always messy

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