Setting Up a Personal Filing System

Personal  photoWith all of the information that is out there and circulated to the home (car payments, bank statements, and utility bills) paperwork can get to be overwhelming. There is the question of what to save and file and what to discard. Anything other than advertisements seems important and should be either read or saved. A personal filing system can help keep everything in perspective.

Choosing a Filing Cabinet or Other Type of Filing System

The type of filing cabinet that is chosen goes according to the quantity of materials a person has. A college student may require a small portable portfolio for tuition bills and other small bills. A person who has more information (say from years of home ownership or divorces) may have more paperwork and is going to need a larger filing system (something like the metal ones used in offices, but on a smaller scale).

There are plastic filing systems and more simplistic filing systems (racks for folders) that can also be used. Some may be happy with storing information in a small vault or drawer. A drawer might not be the most practical way to organize as items need to be separated and easy to view. Considering where to place this filing system is another challenge. Finding a small corner in a home office is ideal.

Separating Bills, Taxes, and Other Papers

Before filing items that include bills, taxes, and other important papers (doctor bills, any financial statements and letters) the information needs to be separated and files need to be clearly labeled. The system is personal and has to work for the person organizing it. Large black letters may be used (written or typed) indicating what is in each file. Red tags or removable notes may be inserted where there is something important to follow up on.

Maintaining and Cleaning out the Filing System

As things are neatly stored away in the personal filing system and kept up to date, items should also occasionally be cleaned out. Papers can quickly pile up and take up too much room. When this happens, cleaning is necessary. When sensitive items pile up (tax information, financial statements, and other items containing social security numbers) shredding is in order.


These days, throwing papers out with sensitive information on them is risky because of identity theft, so it has become very common to shred sensitive documents. To solve the problem, shredding services may be hired or small shredders can also be purchased at almost any office supply store. To speed up shredding, do not file papers away with a lot of staples in them (they’ll have to be taken out later, unless the shredder can shred staples).

A personal filing system can keep private information handy and accessible. Making sure the right type of system is chosen for personal belongings is necessary. Keeping track of everything and cleaning out once in awhile will keep things in order and up to date the next time something needs to be retrieved.

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