How To Organize Office Files And Folders? (3 Steps Process)

It might be challenging to set up a filing system, but it can be even harder to work when there are piles of paperwork taking up too much room.

Office file and folder organization is necessary, and this cannot be emphasized enough.

For instance, when you have a system in place, you can find the things you need with ease.

When you have an urgent need to quickly retrieve important documents, such as during a client meeting or preparations for a presentation, this can be extremely helpful.

I know, some business owners believe that filing systems are unnecessary. Organizing paperwork is pointless just because it does not increase their earnings.

But what they don’t understand is that not having a filing system can quickly locate files in the wrong order. And, in the future, when they can not find what they are seeking, that makes them frustrated and angry.

It’s not over yet.

They waste 1.5 hours a day searching the documents and, you know, time is money! (Backed by data and research)!

It is a fact that all organizations must maintain office files that are easily accessible and structured, as well as procedures in place to handle all of these tasks. 

Additionally, keeping your workplace organized can help maintain focus and reduce distractions, allowing you to be more productive throughout the entire day.

This article will enable you in setting up your filing system from the ground up.

Although the procedures are simple to follow, the amount of time required will depend on how much paperwork needs to be sorted through and organized.

By making the initial effort, you’ll be able to create a filing system that effortlessly serves your needs.

Whether you are a small business owner or an employee at a large corporation, these tips will help you stay organized. So, let’s get started!

Before we discuss the best practices for organizing office files and folders, there is something important:

Buy a filing cabinet for your office. (If you value my efforts, kindly consider purchasing through the link provided in my articles. It won’t incur any additional costs for you, but it would bring me great joy!)

organize files and folders in three steps

Prepare your plan

Organizing office papers, especially if there are many files and documents to look through can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be an agonizing task.

Planning ahead of time and settling on a file system will help you organize your files to fit your business and guarantee that crucial documents are easier to find.

Once you’ve gotten your files in order, you’ll need to stick to a regular approach to keep them that way.

Here are some methods to easily establish a plan to organize office files and folders:

  • Determine your requirements: Begin by making a checklist of all the papers and documents you own to figure out which ones are valuable and which ones can be archived or deleted.
  • Determine the Categories: Once you have assessed the current situation, determine the categories that are needed for your filing system. For instance, “financial documents,” “client files,” and “employee records” are some examples of categories you might need.
  • Create a folder structure: Based on the categories you have identified, create a folder structure that makes sense for your office. For example, you may create “Financial documents” folders with subfolders for “invoices, “receipts” and “bills”.
  • Start Labeling the folders: Once you’ve set up your filing system, clearly label each file and folder. Each folder’s tab should have its label neatly and legibly written on it so you can quickly determine which folder each file belongs to. Every folder’s label should begin with the overall category and then be followed by the appropriate subcategory.

Start by sorting files and folders into categories:

Making a decision on the main categories you’ll use for organizing your files is the first step in arranging them.

Different types of offices will have various categories, but the overall framework remains the same. You must devise a system that organizes your files in a useful manner.

Here is how to sort your files and folders:

  • Organize subcategories: By creating a list of subcategories within every topic, you can refine your focus. There are two terms that can be used to describe each specific piece of paper that needs to be filed: the general category and the subcategory.
  • Apply the color coding strategy:  Although it may seem easy, organizing your files for easy access in this manner can be quite beneficial. Determine the number of categories your file system will have, and then utilize the corresponding number of colored folders.  You can use standard manila folders and colored stickers in place of completely colored folders. For greater visibility, you can then attach the stickers to the folder’s edge, top tab, or both.
  • Sort papers according to the date:  Make sure that a document’s date is obvious by underlining it and including it in the paper version. By doing so, you can arrange your papers in chronological order without having to open every single one. And in the future, you’ll have an easier time finding them.
  • Arrange the files alphabetically:  When arranging folders in cabinets or drawers, you can keep using alphabetical order. Consider dividing a main folder into subfolders for clients, suppliers, and colleagues. To make it clear what or who the folders are related to, use abbreviated names. Even color coding can be used to make it simpler to distinguish between various folder groups.

You can learn this deeply here in this article, 7 safe ways to Organize and store years of Paperwork.

Start organizing your documents

It’s time to select a suitable filing system to keep each file in its right location now that you’ve created a strategy and decided how to organize office files and folders.

Select the appropriate filing system, which can include filing cabinets, file boxes, and hanging file folders. The most widely used option is filing cabinets. If you are not sure about filing cabinets, here is a filing cabinet buying guide.

These days, you can buy several types of office equipment and furniture in a wide range of colors, sizes, and designs.

There is something for every taste and budget, including vibrant portable file folders and intricate and colorful filing cabinets. Here are the best-selling 5 drawer filing cabinets you might like to buy.

  • Set up file folders and hanging files: You should start getting your hanging files and file folders ready. Start labeling a bunch of documents and hanging folders with the lists you made earlier. Labeling with a pencil makes it easy to change or edit items while using a label maker can make things appear more unified.
  • Prepare your filing cabinet: Setting up your filing cabinet is the next step. If you have any files, take everything out of the cabinet and temporarily put them on a spotless, flat surface. You can begin arranging your pre-labeled hanging files and folders in the filing cabinet using your file system if you are working with an empty or brand-new filing cabinet.
  • Place papers into file folders: It’s time to organize your papers and documents by putting them in the proper folders. Start filing documents in folders using the above-described alphabetical or chronological order.

Maintenance of Documents

Once you’ve finished organizing your files and folders, your work is not done yet.

  • You must routinely examine files and folders, and remove or discard documents that might not be useful in the future.
  • Create a structure for new folders and files and revise labels as appropriate.
  • You should allot time to evaluate your files at least once a year, or more frequently if necessary. 
  • Set aside a certain amount of time each day or week to work on filing new paperwork. Making filing a regular part of your routine increases your chances of success. For example, you may devote the last half hour of each day to filing the paperwork from the day. 

Remember: persistence and dedication are the secrets to success.

The surroundings of the office have a big impact on how we operate. When our environment is chaotic, we are too.

From a purely practical standpoint, that is undoubtedly accurate: every time we have to hunt through a cluttered desk for a misplaced document, we waste valuable work time. Making your office more organized is preferable because it can save a great deal of time. 

Employee productivity and efficiency can be increased by structuring files and folders so that workers can find the information they need quickly. 

This may result in a happier workplace atmosphere and improved job performance. 

Overall, organizing workplace documents and folders can benefit both the workforce and the company.

In Conclusion

Keeping an organized office involves more than just paperwork. Productivity depends on cleanliness.

It will take a very long time to organize your files and folders if they are already chaotic. But once you have a reliable file system in place, everything will go off without a hitch.

It’s important to have a system that is accessible and reliable. Following that, you must act. No matter how well you design a system, if you don’t use it, it won’t be of any benefit to you.