A little fling with your filing

This is a guest post by Kylie, from Get Me Organised

As I sit down to write some tips on organising your office filing and paperwork, I recall the phone conversation I had with a girlfriend this morning.  She has been flat out at work recently, and also very busy at home with her husband and daughter, and today was the day for the whole world to come crashing down around her.  And, the very thing that got her to tipping point was the sight of weeks worth of business and personal filing taking up space on her desk, and cluttering her thoughts.  So, it was fitting that I had planned to write this post today because I got a real life example to draw from.


Below are some tips on how to avoid getting to that tipping point with your filing.

Clear the backlog

Step 1 – sort through the pile of paperwork including magazines and newspapers, and group into two piles; trash or file.  You might like to bring a rubbish bin into the office so you can get rid of trash immediately.

Step 2 – now that you have a neat pile of paperwork to file, devise a filing system that works for you.  If you work with others, consider whether they would look for the information in the same place as you.  Your system may include files for tasks to complete, invoices to pay, interesting articles, client files, or outgoing mail.

Step 3 – file that pile away into your filing cabinet/folders.  You might even find that on second glance, you really don’t need to keep some of the paperwork. 

File daily

Now that you have your backlog cleared, you can take some simple steps to ensure it never needs hours of attention again.  The first step is to file daily.  Take 30 seconds to file the paperwork now, and avoid having to spend an hour of your family time on the weekend sorting out 1-2 weeks of paperwork.  The second step is to adopt the FAST approach:

  • File it
  • Action it
  • Send it
  • Trash it

This system doesn’t just work for your paperwork, you can apply the FAST rules to your inbox and digital filing as well.  This means all your information is stored in a simple, easy to use, totally tailored filing system just for you. 

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Carly Phillips on Facebook April 8, 2012 - 8:39 AM

Filing is great, but i never no how long i should keep receipts for bills that i have paid eg: power bills and phone bills etc. Have you got any advice???

Kylie Farr on Facebook April 10, 2012 - 8:19 PM

Hi Katrina – thanks for the opportunity to be a guest contributor on your awesome blog! Carly, depending on whether you need them for tax purposes, I would suggest that one year as a maximum. If you will be using for a tax claim, you need to keep for 7 years although your accountant may advise that certain bills can be kept for a shorter period than others. Hope this helps 🙂

Ferial Reynolds January 16, 2014 - 11:52 AM

we use an online money management program, which allows me to take a photo of the paper work then store it in a file section and then I have the paperwork readily available online and can shred the paper. Yay, to moving closer to a paper free home/office.

Wendy January 16, 2014 - 1:01 PM

Is the get me organised site working? The links in the article don’t work…


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