“Life gets in the way”, they say, and this fact influences how often files get their needed attention. This file system is the life paper of a single man. Having owned a couple of houses in a couple of states and being middle-aged, he had plenty of paperwork to keep track of. I met this system in 2008 when I rescued it from virtual nonexistence and then again in 2019 to accommodate all that had happened in one year.
Removing each paper, one by one, and categorizing it when placing down on the other side in the sorting area, I emptied the drawers.
I set to donate all the colored folders and tabs because the tabs are hard to see what label is inside and the client is not organized enough to deal with colored files. At the time of the first organization the colored files were all that were available for the job but the second go around standard green hanging files and three cut manilla interior folders were available. I organized the old (more than two years) paid bills into categories so it would be easier for the client to review them for shredding.
After reviewing all the papers I had a pile of papers to ask the client about as I was unsure of where they belonged in the system. I replaced the categories of paper back in the file drawers using the new hanging files and folders lining up the tabs on the right hand side so as the system gains or loses more categories they are easier to line up with the rest and the eye has only one line to scan for the subject they are seeking.
A label maker would make the labels more easily read but at this time one was not available and if you make organizing too difficult due to a desire for perfection it never gets done and remains in the growing pile of good intentions. If the client personally reviews all interior filed papers then the work of weeding is fully done but if s/he does not have time this is a good first step to taming the paper tiger.
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