Why I’ll never have a Filing pile again.

This post is going to be short & sweet, as a grocery list is staring at me & the school pickup is also looming. Being self-employed means sneaking into the supermarket BEFORE pickup, so as not to drag two kids through it afterwards & it take ten times longer. But hey, if Seth Godin can write short daily posts, so can I (just don’t expect them daily)!

A business expert once said ‘do your filing once, each week’. Another business expert said ‘never handle a piece of paper more than 3 times’. I tried the former, and ended up with a pile called ‘Filing’ that NEVER got emptied, no matter how much I tried to convince myself that it was the perfect Friday job with some great music playing loudly.

So, I got rid of my Filing tray. And now, it doesn’t stare at me every day. Yippee!

Step 1: Clean out your vertical files. Only keep stuff relevant to that financial year (like current insurance certificates). Yes, you can scan them & keep them electronically if you’d prefer.

Step 2: Place everything else in archive storage boxes. Shred box contents of expired financial years (keep the last 7 years).

Step 3: Make sure your vertical files are organised & labelled.

Step 4: Use Ring Binders for A4 receipts with monthly tabs (split into half-year if necessary) and ring binders for bank statements & BAS return paperwork (worksheet & reports).

Step 5: FILE AS YOU GO. Yes, once a piece of paper has been dealt with & no longer needs your attention, throw it straight into your vertical suspension file or ring binder. Filing done at the cost of an extra minute.

This works for me because I hate seeing papers on my desk. The only things on my desk are things that need my attention or need putting into a reminder system so I remember to do them later (eg bills get entered into financial software & paper copies thrown into a red Bills to be paid manila folder on my desktop vertical file holder.

Getting rid of my filing pile was one of the best things I’ve ever done as it makes me feel in control. How do you handle the filing of your paperwork? Do you scan, save & shred everything or do you have a pile of unfiled papers like I used to?


(not really being a short post at all!)

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