One of the reasons we hold onto paper is because we need or want to reference the information (on the paper) in the future. However, what happens when we can’t put our hands on a piece of paper quickly and easily? We waste time hunting and searching for that paper, or we attempt to find the information from another source. Is there really any need to save paper that we can’t find quickly and easily? No! So, what will help us find specific papers when we need them?
An organized paper storage system will help us locate what we want, when we need it, and help us remember where paper is stored. Creating an organized system can be quite an undertaking. The initial step in this undertaking is to have a paper storage container (ie. file cabinet) that holds alphabetical files that are labeled with file names. It is essential to customize the file names to reflect our specific, personal retention needs. The best way to do this is to create file names that uniquely describe what information is stored inside the file. This is much more efficient than using generic or standardized names. For example I use the file name “Kia Soul” instead of Auto, Car, or Vehicle.
Another example of a customized file that I have is my “Fashion File”. It holds all the girly things that I want to reference, look into, check out, or use. It contains 5 separate categories, hair, jewelry, nails, skincare, and wardrobe. The types of papers that I store in each category are as follows:
Hair – contact information for my current stylist, pictures of hair styles that I like, products I want to try
Jewelry – receipts of jewelry purchases, business cards for jewelry consultants, jewelry catalogs
Nail – business cards for local nail salons with times and directions
Skincare – business cards for skincare consultants, products I want to try, lists of chemical free products, skincare catalogs
Wardrobe – contact information for image consultants, tips for my body type, fashion styles I like
By establishing and using this unique file name, and other personalized file names, I have created an organized system that helps me remember where my papers belong and where I can find them when I need them. This approach could work for you. If you do use it please share with me what file names you use.
© June 2015 Janine Cavanaugh, Certified Professional Organizer® All Rights Reserved