How To Create a Slick Filing System – Quick Reference


Storage – What Goes Where

In the file cabinet:

  • Make box-bottom hanging files for broad categories, putting category names on their tabs
  • Make manila folders for sub-categories (e.g., in the Insurance hanging file, you’d have Homeowners/Renters and Auto folders at the least. (If you rent and don’t have Renters insurance, get it!)
  • Make individual folders for manuals and put them in box-bottom hanging files by category.
  • Items you’ll file directly into the cabinet when received would be, for example, auto purchase and maintenance records, receipts received irregularly that you want to keep, and updated insurance policies (while still keeping the original if it has riders), and manuals.

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How To Create a Slick Filing System – Steps 8, 9 and 10


Step 8: Financials (And Other Current Paperwork)

This is the brilliant part!

You should have file folders for the previous three years’ worth of financial records already labeled and separated by year. Make three new hanging files and make the tabs Annual Archives 1, 2 and 3. Put the dated files from three years ago in #3, from two years ago in #2, and from last year in #1. Don’t date the hanging files.

Now we’ve reached the critical step that makes the whole filing system work for me. Remember the step-up/tiered file sorter that was listed in “What You’ll Need”? Time to put it to good use. Continue reading

How To Create a Slick Filing System – Steps 5, 6 and 7


Step 5: Make Manila File Folders

Now it’s time to start making folders and filing them. This process should be pretty obvious so I’m not going to go into great detail. DO use a label maker to mark the tabs if at all possible. Your hanging category files are already in place, so it’s a breeze to file your manila folders.

But do not file ANY monthly financial material from the current year (or anything else you save annually). My Financial hanging file has just two folders: Pension and Social Security, and these are for documentation, not monthly statements. If all your paperwork is monthly statements, you may not even need a Financial file. Continue reading