I’ve used these myself and recommend them to clients. You can buy boxes of just 1 color. The hard part is picking the color!
I’ve set up and organized a few offices lately so I feel like I’ve been thinking a lot about the various supplies necessary to get best filing system set up in your home office. The goal that I’ve been helping people achieve is having an office where it is easy to find papers, supplies like staplers and scissors, and having a pleasant and calm space to work. Now your choice of folders and hanging files may not seem consequential but God is in the details and you don’t want to have to replace all of the hard work you just implemented in your filing system. I want to share with you my favorite folders but want to tell you that I only recommend products that I’ve used myself or with clients and they’ve passed my scrutiny. The opinions expressed here are my own and haven’t been supplemented.
Get a filing system that works for you!
SMEAD has the best folders and hanging files and I use & recommend them all the time. They are available in a lot of great colors which is more important than a lot people realize. It’s important that your files look good and keep your papers in order. You can buy the ones with movable or stationary tabs–that’s up to you. I personally think it’s easier seeing everything lined up on the left side but that can be challenging if you have a lot of files. I prefer the hanging files with the clear tabs and white paper so you can print custom labels and replace as necessary.
Office Max also has a store brand that is just as sturdy and colorful as SMEAD. They can be a few cents less than SMEAD but I think they are equally effective.
What you have to look out for is the folders and hanging files made from recycled paper. I hate to say it but they are flimsy and just don’t last as long. Typically they are dark green so they are easy to spot. Remember your time is valuable so saving money today by buying something cheaper will cost you in time and having to replace in the future.
Container Store folders–pretty!
You still want to invest in good folders, too, even though the hanging files are doing the most work. As you move files around you’ll definitely appreciate something that lasts. I’ve seen really pretty folders at various art supply stores and some pretty solids at The Container Store. Big box office supply stores like Office Depot/Max and Staples also have some attractive solid options. Just make sure they are sturdy.
I haven’t tested these Martha Stewart folders from Staples but they are nice looking.
Do you need to color code folders based on category or type? For home offices and personal use, my vote is “no” even though I love colors. It’s too costly and complicated to keep a steady supply of differently colored folders. Usually the color you need, you won’t have and then you’ll have to buy more than is necessary. Pick a favorite color and stick with it.
I’d love to hear your questions about folders and filing systems! How is your office working for you?
Later. Tomorrow. When I have more time. When I’m not as busy. After the holidays. I think you are starting to sense a pattern here. Procrastination is a fancy word for putting off things that you need to do but don’t really want to. And I get it. It’s normal to not want to do your taxes, fold laundry, write that thank you note, or pull weeds but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t value in accomplishing those things. Imagine what happens when you don’t accomplish those tasks and you move forward. Even though the task in question will ultimately benefit you, it’s not always easy to get started.
I also ask this question when it comes to larger, potentially life changing projects. I worked with a client this week who said that a milestone birthday was coming up and that’s when she was going to finally renovate her bathroom. It took a milestone birthday for me to leave my corporate job and join the entrepreneurial world so I get it. Sometimes you need that milestone to be a reward for massive changes. But I also hear from people that complain about the state of their homes and they say they don’t have time to get organized. They can’t take time to go through a closet or boxes that haven’t been opened since their move x years ago. They are too busy to make their home a place of refuge so it becomes a sanctuary of stuff. They don’t know what they have, don’t know where things are, spend excessive time looking for things, and end up frustrated, irritated, and financially drained spending money buying what they already have. Does this sound familiar? It’s ok, it’s a common phenomenon and there is a remedy:
Get your home in order. You live there now and it should reflect your life, interests, tastes, and needs. There is no perfect time to go through that closet full of unidentified stuff. Just do it and get it over so you can move forward. Not dealing with clutter makes you a slave to it and trapped in the past. Go through it and face it head on. You’ll discover that you either have new-found treasures that will enhance your home or you have stuff that needs to move on to another place. You deserve it. You’ve earned the time to go through this now. The space will then be in order and a pleasure to look at, not an eyesore that drains your energy. Wouldn’t you rather achieve this peace now and not wait for some arbitrary milestone to give you permission to move forward?
Do it for you. Do it now. Do not procrastinate taking care of yourself and your home. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others.
Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. Carl Sandburg
So I recently wrote about how to get more accomplished in the day by completing tasks in 1 or 2 minutes with this post but here is an article on with 101 Useful Things You Can Do in 15 Minutes or Less. Granted, not all 101 items on the list will apply to you but it’s amazing to think of what you can do in 15 minutes if you just do it. Sometimes it’s the avoidance of another, more daunting task that encourages this sudden surge in productivity but at least you are getting something done and marking it off your list. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, WRITE IT DOWN! Start a list of things you’d like to do such as….
- a list of places you’d like to go on vacation
- house projects you’d like to accomplish this year
- books you’d like to read (someday)
- movies you’d like to see
- recipes you’d like to try
- restaurants you’d like to visit
These are all pretty “fun” things to do and they are all about YOU. You deserve to invest in yourself. Whenever you have 5, 10, or 15 minutes free you can go back to this list and start thinking about what you really want to accomplish and if you are on a path to achieve any of that. Mark things off the list or add to it. This is a list that helps spur your creativity and will encourage goal setting. If you set goals, you’ll achieve goals. Achieving goals leads to feeling a sense of accomplishment which leads to your future success, which drives you to achieve more of your dreams. And it all starts with you, a pen, and a piece of paper.