Help and support with filing
It sounds like there are 2 processes going on simultaneously: 1) dealing with backlog - purging old stuff and then deciding out of the current piles what you still need to retain, and 2) setting up your filing system to make it easier moving forward. As David quotes in the article on “General Reference Filing”:
“The bottom line: You each need your own personal, at-hand general reference filing system. It should take you less than 60 seconds to pick something up out of your in-basket, or print it from e-mail, decide it has no action but does have potential future value, and finish storing it into a trusted system. If it takes you longer than a minute to complete that action, you won’t do it—you’ll stack it instead.”
We typically recommend keeping Active/current project files separate from General Reference, which you are doing. I think it’s ok to keep your financial files separate, especially if the files need to be kept in a locked cabinet. You may be over-complicating things with the colored folders (and in my experience with this over the years, we always seem to run out of one color faster than the other, and before we know it blue is mixed in with yellow).
If you are planning on eventually purchase filing cabinets, I would recommend taking a measuring tape and measuring how many inches of current files you have. For example, if you have 12 bankers’ boxes full of files and the boxes are 15 inches long, you would have 180 inches of files (15x12). When you purchase filing cabinets I would consider doubling that number, to have plenty of space moving forward.
Bottom line #2: most of us don't necessarily LOVE filing , so the more we can set up (on the front end), to make it easier to file as we process, the easier it will be (and the less resistance we'll have). For some inspiration, consider listening to the Getting Started expanded conversation on "Non-Action Stuff: Reference":
Take good care!
Senior Coach, David Allen Company