I am facing my numerouspiles and partially organized files of the past. I am throwing a lot out as I go, but there is much that I need to retain, especially family and financial documents, pictures, reports that I will need to reference for work, and client/customer folders.
Before I describe my system, here are my questions:
First, can I set this system up any better?
Second, and perhaps this is more of an empirical question, is it better to put the papers I am keeping into their files as I go, or to divide into the location categories (House, General, Active, Financial) or even iuse the A to Z "tickler" tule folder for the General , and then file by so I am physically only filing into one area orletter of the alphabet at a time?
If I suspect I might have a similarly named file in my system somwhere should I search for at the time or just make a new folder, and figure I will eventually combine them, or put that on a SDMB list?
Basically there are three file "areas". I tried having one A to Z and there was too much to search through for files frequently accessed, also I like to lock the financial when we are out and people are staying in our house.
General Reference: On a large table in the center of the room are eight open bankers boxes that go from A to Z, these are general reference for everything except the two exceptions below. This starts with Air Travel and ends with YMCA, by the way. It incluides friends and family by last name, stores by name that we patronize often, kids school work by their name, info about schools by name of the school (but all begin with SCHOOL: name of the school, or SCHOOLS:name of the category or issue), personal papers for all of us organized by person's name, vacation and travel labelled by place, activities and interestsm etc. If we own it, yellow folder; if it is about a person, red folder; if it is a personal project of mine and could not be of interest to anyone else in the family, it is purple folder.
My work related folders are in here too, A to Z but each one starts with PROF:____. Eventually these will live in their own drawers.
These won't live on the table forever, it is just easier to access them this way while I am culling and sorting my huge undifferentiated piles.
2nd area= HOUSE - This is for stuff related to renovating our house (2 drawers in same room), this has lot of picture brochures, specification information, etc. I have an handwritten outline of how I have it organized, so I don't duplicate topics or make things unfindable. I use a yellow folder for items that we actually own or a contractor or tradesman who has actually done work for us. Each of these, plain or yellow starts with the word "HOUSE". Unfortunatly there is a lot of over-sized stuff piled in back of the drawer. I need a book shelf above for books related to this project. Eventually everything realted to the house that is general reference will make its way into HOUSE (lawn mower-we own).
3rd area next to my desk chair : Active Projects in drawer next to my desk.
Financial current year : all the routine stuff that gets paid, examined, or will need to be retrieved for taxes. These are dark green.
Financial reference: last few years tax returns and supporting documentation.
Within the current year several folders are color coded a light green because they need to travel from year to year: auto, credit history, house mortage and valuation, insurances.
To be honest there is a forth area that contains my so-in box and all the outgoing-stuff to give to particular family members, stuff to mail, casual read and review, directories, phone books, etc.