We live fast-paced lifestyles, making numerous transactions in a day. With such interactions comes lots of paperwork that ends up at our homes. You might be having receipts, coupons, and stationery choking your space. So, how do you organize and file this paperwork at home?
An easy filing system for the home will organize your paperwork immediately it enters your space. More so, a convenient filing system will enable fast data retrieval or analysis. So, how do you select a simple yet efficient filing system for home?
Here are traits to look for in a functional and effective home filing system: –
Purpose of the Home Filing System
There are different home filing systems to suit varying lifestyles and storage needs. For example, a hanging paper filing system has rod tips that tuck away all your vital documents inside larger cabinets, drawers, and boxes. They have customizable sections and labels to accommodate more letter-size papers. Other filing systems include fireproof and waterproof home filing systems guarding against data loss due to accidental fires or flooding.
Hence, examine your space and decide what kind of home filing system list will suit your place. Aim at aligning your filing system with your overall functional home arrangement. Plus, have all the filing tools and materials you need. Typical filing items include hanging file folders, file folder tabs, file folder labels, marker pens, cabinets, and digital memory cards for backup.
Ease of Use
How easily can you implement your choice of home filing system? See, you want a filing system that saves you time during the sorting, grouping, and storing of your papers and vital documents. For example, install a filing system that includes a “TO DO” and “TO STORE” tray, helping you sort all your paperwork fast.
Likewise, use common tags for your labels. It will make your filing system understandable to others around you who need to access the information. And, opt for a filing solution that uses readily available materials and tools to save you time and money as you de-clutter your space.
Your filing system for the home should have a separate section with reinforced security for your sensitive data. Here, you want to have all your important papers away from kids or unauthorized persons. These include automobile papers, medical records, deeds, bank account numbers, PINs, wills, and service contracts. Other safety features include the use of zippered, collapsible, and fireproof compartments.
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Ease of Categorizing/Grouping
For you to access your documents easily, the filing system should allow you to categorize your documents. You should also know how to organize home filing system using appropriate categorizes. For example, all your auto insurance, lease financing, claims, registration, repairs, and maintenance files go under the auto category. Here are some additional groupings and subgroupings you can use in your filing system: –
- Resumes & Certificates: -Marriage certificates, birth certificates, wills, school certificates, college transcripts, life insurance documents
- Health: Health insurance agreements, claims, benefits coverage. Sub-categorize them by setting up a file for each family member
- Finances: Pensions, investments, banking, debit, and credit card documentation
- Personal Taxation: All income tax documentation for the last seven years. Sub-categorize them according to the taxation periods
- Home: Mortgage agreement, tenancy agreements, utility bills, insurance, security & installations, property taxes
- Health: benefits coverage, insurance information, claims, and a file for each family member
The Visual Component
Ideally, your choice home filing system should have a visual component that makes sorting and categorizing your information easy. These visual components include a color-coding system for your folders and binders. It will help you locate all your most frequently used categories faster. This tried-and-true system entails using folders of varying colors or visible markers for your home filing list.
Then, select colors that make sense to you. These should be brightly colored folders and binders. Apply the color codes as highlighted words, sticky notes, or colored fonts. Keep them consistent, limiting them to five distinct colors.
Other visual components include staggering the labels from left to right to improve their visibility, using printed instead of handwritten labels, and replacing your custom labels with post-it notes in varying colors and sizes.
Ease of Going Paperless
If you use your study as your home office, the paperwork for your business may become overwhelming as your business grows. Likewise, if your home gets too humid, you may need to maintain a digital home filing system list as a backup. Besides, digitizing your filing system for home papers saves time for manual filing and automates the retrieval of vital information wherever you are. Select a home filing system that facilitates the conversion of your documents into soft storage should the need arise. Hence, you want to sort and group your files similarly as you would use desktop files and folders.
Here are some tips on how to organize home filing system digitally: –
- Know what and why you want to digitize your documents
- Gather the physical documents in your “TO DO” pile
- Scan the documents using a scanner or a mobile scanning app
- Save the scanned documents as PDF or JPG files, naming them according to their original names on the physical files.
- Lock each file, and set up a password for editing
- Create folders as per the categories of your physical folders.
- Decide where you shall save your files and folders. If online, opt for reliable service providers like Dropbox and then encrypt the files before uploading them. Still, if you opt for offline storage, save the files and folders in an encrypted flash drive. Then, keep this flash drive at a secure location, retrieving it once in a while to update the records.
- Use a digital calendar to schedule your upcoming events and meetings.
- Using a Tag System – A tag system works well for an online home filing system. Here, you come up with a couple of tags that instantly categorize your files and folders. That way, you can search and locate all the files relating to a particular tag.
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Selecting a reliable filing system for home papers can be the solution you need to de-clutter your countertops, home office desks, or even the refrigerator doors. It requires adequate planning to determine what to keep or discard and the filing space and materials for an efficient and easy filing system for the home. Then, examine why you need a home filing system in the first place. Then, opt for a filing solution that is easy to use, allows for seamless grouping of information, and facilitates going paperless at a later stage. Better still; have a digital home filing system as a backup.