I’m a professional organizer and do you know what???
I’m not a fan of filing cabinets. I realize that some people are loyal to them and it certain situations it is necessary, but not in my home!
Full disclosure – I actually do have a filing cabinet in my home. It is short and supports the fish tank. It holds very few files and mostly spare office items that I don’t like sitting out. If it weren’t for the fish….
Here are some reasons I don’t like filing cabinets;
1. I don’t like all the paper. I don’t look at it and I certainly don’t need most of it.
2. If it is tucked away I never think about it.
3. If I need a paper, then I have to remember how I filed it.
4. I’m at my computer and I have to break my flow to go to the filing cabinet.
5. I need to purge it and it just takes too much time.
Here are some alternatives for reducing the paper bulk and using something other than a cabinet;
1. Digital filing – I personally use Pixily and it works perfectly for our family. You don’t have to waste time filing documents into categories. Just mail it off and then perform a “Google type” search for whatever you need. For example, I needed my daughter’s updated health record, so I typed in her name and the name of the pediatrician’s office = presto. This system will not work for every family, so make certain you think carefully and weigh the pros and cons before going digital. They also have a folder filing option now and I’ll let you know how that works once I’ve tried it. After it is scanned there is an option to shred.
2. Scan it yourself and use a system like Google docs or save to your computer and have a back-up such as Mozy.
3. Accordion file – I used this system for years and it works like a charm. Devote each tab in the accordion file to a different bill/topic and file your statements accordingly. At the end of the year just purchase a new accordion file and no purge necessary. A couple of my clients use this method and love it. If you ever need to refer to an old statement then just pull the Accordion with the correct year, find your tab, and you are set.
4. Purchase a good shredder. If you don’t need it, shred it. Always check with your accountant first, but here is a good guideline via LifeOrganizers.com – http://lifeorganizers.com/Office-Home-Office/The-Organized-Files/Records-Retention.html
5. Get Creative. If you only have a few files, toss the cabinet and find a more aesthetically pleasing option. Magazine holders, bins, use color and pattern to create a new look.
6. Be proactive and don’t create the paper clutter in the first place. Don’t “hit print” and recycle what you can. Opt for electronic statements!
What ideas have you come up with to reduce paper clutter?