Got Paper? Filing Tips! No, I’m Not Fooling!

Happy April Fool’s Day!  Share your best pranks in the comments.


With the rise in computer usage, people said that paper filing would become obsolete, but that hasn’t been the case! Today on the Clear Your Clutter Inside & Out blog, I’m talking about filing!  Don’t forget to check out the second part of my blog on April 5th!

Learn tips to declutter and organize your files.

According to Organized World, the use of office paper has tripled since the birth of the computer. The 80/20 rule is especially true here, meaning that we probably don’t use 80% of the files we keep. The Small Business Administration states that 80 % of the papers we file, we never refer to again.

Let’s also look at the cost of doing and maintaining filing. Gartner Group, Coopers & Lybrand, Ernst & Young found It costs about $25,000 to fill a four-drawer filing cabinet and over $2,100 per year to maintain it. And finally: Americans waste more than 9 million hours each day looking for lost and misplaced articles according to the American Demographics Society.

If you haven’t decluttered or gotten organized, now is the time!


Be on the lookout for my blog on April 5th where I’ll share more filing tips.


Filing Tips: Decluttering

Take out all of your files. Retrieve any other files that may be in other areas of the home or in your briefcase, computer bag, etc. Have a pen and pad in case you need to jot down any notes.


Sort all of your files into broad categories. I have 3 drawers of files in one filing cabinet. Personal, Business and Financial are my three main categories. All files fit into one of the categories.

Once you have created your broad categories, begin sorting within each category. I am going to suggest you again keep your files simple with broad categories. Within personal, I have one insurance file that holds all insurance policies.


A mistake that people often do is making filing really complicated. You don’t want it to be. Make it simple not only for you but for others that might need access to your files.




After you have sorted your files, it’s time to purge. I always recommend talking with an attorney and accountant on retaining certain files and see what their recommendations and guidelines are.


This is can be challenging, especially if you are in the habit of saving everything or not filing because you cannot make a decision. Commit to making a decision on all your files. I promise that once you do an overhaul, it is easy to maintain once you keep up with it.


Here are some suggestions on what to edit:


Ask yourself if you really need to save it and then ask again!

Magazines, articles, information. With the power of the Internet and Google, most likely your paper copy, and possibly the information, is already old. It seemed like we got an update on the Coronavirus daily.


Research materials. Keep the source and recycle paper. Ask yourself if there is an online resource that you can easily bookmark.


Multiple copies. Generally speaking, keep no more than two copies. I always suggest asking your attorney, accountant, or other professional for advice.


Drafts. Keep only the final version. Why would you keep what did not make the cut? Depending on the project I’m working on (I do a lot of writing), I might keep one notes file where something might not have made the cut, but can be useful in a similar project, such as a blog.


Manuals. These are bulky and take up a lot of space. When we were downsizing, I got rid is one resource where you can most likely find your manual if you ever need it.


Memorabilia. If it has been sitting in a filing cabinet for a while, does it really mean that much to you? How important is it? Come up with something creative such as a shadow box or a piece of wall art. There are lots of free ideas on Pinterest and YouTube and many talented artists on Etsy.


What filing tips can you try? What are your biggest challenges when purging your files?

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