Sometimes, we just don't need fancy filing systems.
I've read two articles - one a while ago, one just recently - that suggest simpler ways to handle "filing" all the paperwork. And both seem like they could work just fine for some people.
Over on Simple Productivity Blog, LJ Earnest suggests a "filing heresy: one box filing." Here's how it would work:
Grab a small, empty box. About the size of a box that holds file folders, not one that holds a refrigerator. Throughout the year, toss in the things you need to hang on to for financial and tax reasons.I know someone who does just this - and it works very well for her! [via Lifehacker]
And then over on Discardia, Dinah advocates "stupid simple filing." She suggests we create files for papers we know we'll want to be able to put our hands on - health insurance, automotive repair, etc. But then, for all the rest:
Put everything else you think you have to keep in one stack.If these approaches appeal to you, go read the full posts by LJ or Dinah for more information.
Seriously, just stack it up.
Make it very handy for adding to the stack and very unoffensive to your eye. ...
My discovery was that I spend far less time flipping quickly down through the reverse chronological stack to find one of the few things I actually wind up needing to refer back to than I ever did filing, so why file?
When the pile gets unappealingly high ... whip through it quickly and pull out obviously stale stuff that can now be discarded or shredded or for which you have since created a file folder.