Homogenous vs heterogenous filing
Okay, only someone a little OCD and trying not to be too OCD would concern themselves with this issue...
In fileing paper or storing objects, one is faced with the degree to which items are to be labelled/filed/boxed individually (e.g, greeting cards) or combined (birthday cards, sympthay cards, blank cards). I am wondering if other people have rules of thumb or best practices for this? I, like David, will readily put a single piece of paper in a labelled folder because I hate looking though a dozen related papers for one thing. I want to get my hands on something immediatly. But, if I am not careful I may confuse myself with too many files with names that are rather similar or I will name something so specifically that if I file it by alphabetically I won't find it when I am searching for similar items with different names. Any thoughts?
Occam's Razor / Evolution in practice
Originally Posted by Jamie Elis
there is a nice rule of thumb that is about 700 years old. It's called Occam's Razor: "entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity."
In your case, it means that you start with as few labels as possible, by default. "Greeting cards" is your starting point. If (and only if) your experience shows that you're beginning to waste a lot of time because you don't have subsections in your "greeting cards" folder, it's time to split up this single folder into multiple ones.
IMHO this is not a philosophical issue. Consider a car rental company, compared to a garage: although cars have engines, it's not likely that a rental company will track car engines seperately from the cars. If a car breaks down, they're not likely to re-use the engine in isolation. On the other hand, for a garage, this might make sense.
So, filing systems depend on their usage / users, not on what we think they "should" be, seen from a philosophical point of view.