7 Safe Ways To Store And Organize Paperwork And Documents

How you should store and organize your office files and folders depends on a few things. Like what kinds of papers you have, how often you use them, and how long you need to keep them.

Sorting papers doesn’t require being a pro. It’s all about clearing your space in a way that suits you best. Since it’s your space, you need a filing system that fits you.

Here’s a guide with simple steps to help you organize your paperwork, no matter how much there is!

Why do you need to have a filing system?

For many, managing paperwork can be a daily struggle. It does not matter if you are working from home or in a big organization with high paperwork intake; papers may easily take up your space. That’s why having a designated spot for them is super important.

From my life journey of reducing mess, I have realized that the only way to control it is by having a certain place for every document coming in every day (or seemingly appearing out of nowhere).

It also helps in cleanliness as well as managing things like bills, financial documents, employee records, invitations, and permission slips.

With just a few straightforward suggestions, you can create your own filing system that will keep paper organized in its proper place.

How to store paperwork like a pro

how to store and organize paperwork and documents

Organizing papers and documents can be exhausting. But there are tricks that can make it easier, or else it gets really messy.

I’ve dealt with tons of paperwork at the office, so I understand how tough it is to keep things organized and secure, especially sensitive information.

If you don’t want paper chaos, try these top strategies to organize all your paperwork simply and practically.

Gather up the paper mess:

Start by gathering all the scattered papers in your office. Put them in a separate box or container and keep them aside for now. While you sort through the rest of your files, get rid of any documents you don’t need anymore by throwing them out or shredding them.

Choose a filing system:

Decide how you want to sort and organize your files. Will you use colors to mark them, or will you put each type of document in its own folder? This system will be your go-to for keeping your paperwork organized, so make sure you’re happy with the one you pick.

Label your files:

The important thing is to make big groups and put clear labels on the tabs of your hanging files. You might even want to use different colors for each group. Arrange your hanging files in a straight line to make it easier to find what you need. Also, give tabs to sub-groups. The more detailed your groups are, the easier it’ll be to find stuff. 

For instance, you could have a file for health. Inside that, you can have separate folders for different aspects like medical records, insurance, and appointments.

Color code your file for easy access:

I find that organizing visually helps a lot and reminds me to keep things tidy. If you’re like me, you might find it helpful to use color-coded files to organize your drawer. This is especially handy if you have papers for different areas. When you use colors, keep the categories broad so you don’t feel overwhelmed when you open the drawer. Remember, less is better.

Here are some categories for a regular family:

  • Home (bills, mortgage, insurance, home improvements)
  • Investments
  • Vehicles (car lease, payments, maintenance)
  • Health (family, dental, vision, skin care, mental health)
  • Finances (credit cards, loans, taxes)

When you’re setting up files for a home business, your categories will be different, but you can still use color-coded files to help you quickly see where everything goes.

Organize paperwork in filing cabinets:

Storing documents in filing cabinets is the usual way to do it.

Filing cabinets come in different sizes and shapes, and some can even be locked for extra safety. If you don’t have one yet, you should check out a guide on buying filing cabinets.

Or you might want to get one of the best 4-drawer office filing cabinets, which many businesses use. There are also some other suitable options like 3-drawer filing cabinets or 5-drawer filing cabinets!

Here’s how you can create an organized filing system if you already have a filing cabinet:

  • Collect all the documents together for filling and group them according to their types
  • Make labels that have short names that are easy to understand for every category
  • Match the labels with the folders where the documents will be placed. Maintain the same labeling strategy across the whole file cabinet. For ease of reach, important files can be put at the front. If necessary, use dividers on some folders to further enhance organization
  • Use colored folders to sort files by topic. Put subtopics in inner files and main topics in hanging files
  • Alphabetize major categories to save time
  • Keep your filing cabinet organized by regularly going through it and getting rid of papers you don’t need

A filing cabinet helps protect your documents from damage, loss, or getting mixed up. With good labeling and sorting, you can find what you need quickly and keep your workspace tidy.

Store documents digitally:

If you have lots of data to keep and your filing cabinets can’t hold it all, this is the best choice.

You can reduce the amount of paper you need by putting your files and other records into digital storage.

I know some of us might be unsure about relying only on digital storage, but it’s not a bad idea.

Less sensitive data can go on your business laptop, while it might be safer on your business desktop or in the cloud.

In short, storing documents digitally is great because it puts all your documents in one spot for easy access.

Many people like it because they don’t need to buy new storage or organize things.

How secure your digital storage needs to be depends on how sensitive the information is.

For any business, it’s important to keep financial data safe, so you might need extra security besides what your software offers.

With digital storage, you can get to your documents from anywhere and on any device.

Saving your documents digitally is pretty simple.

You scan the documents, put them in cloud storage or your computer, and organize them by category, like in a regular filing cabinet.

Tips for Document Storage:

No matter how you decide to keep your documents, there are some good ways to make sure your storage works well and stays organized.

Here are some things to help you:

Keep your documents easy to get:

It’s okay to save money by keeping storage at your place, but make sure you have a good system to find your documents easily.

Protect your papers from damage:

If you want to keep your documents safe, you need to think about how they might get worn out. Even if you store them carefully, they can still get damaged from being touched a lot, sunlight, or spills. To help stop this, put them in plastic sleeves before you file them.

Don’t put boxes and binders on the ground

Cardboard boxes can get damp and wet from the ground, which can ruin both the boxes and what’s inside them. Put boxes on shelves or anywhere they won’t touch the ground to keep them safe.

Final Thought:

Organizing paperwork doesn’t have to be hard, and it’s really worth it to tidy up your office.

It’s important to organize and store your paperwork, but there isn’t just one right way to do it. Everyone’s situation is different.

These tips will help you begin organizing your paperwork and put an end to the paper mess in your life.