Filing And File Cabinets
With the advent of the 'paperless office' you may think you've gotten rid of filing forever. You couldn't be more wrong! Even if your computer files are completely organized, and how many of us do that properly, you are still going to need some where to put actual documents. Papers like signed contracts, snail mail correspondence and those ubiquitous computer software manuals need to be easily retrievable and that means filing!
A simple way to file, if you don't need to do a lot, is to get a concertina or expanding file box. These are usually not that expensive (starting at around $10) and are ready labeled alphabetically from A-Z, numerically from 1-31 or monthly Jan - Dec. Some designs have carrying handles so that you can take your documents with you to a meeting. You can simply store them on a shelf or drawer for easy access.
Once you have several file boxes you might want to get a file cabinet as well. You can often pick these up second hand at a fire or bankrupt stock sale, and then you can personalize it by painting it to match your office design. However with second hand cabinets you have to be careful that the drawers open smoothly and that the cabinet closes properly. If you need to lock your files in your cabinet away from prying eyes or small children, buying new may make more sense. This is because very often the locks in second hand cabinets are problematic.
Prices for new cabinets vary a lot depending on whether you are buying a basic two drawer cabinet (around $70+) to a top of the range lockable four drawer fire proof cabinet at over $1000! You also need to consider the safety aspect and make sure that the cabinet remains stable by only allowing you to open one drawer at a time. You don't want your child playing with the cabinet and having it topple over!
If you don't need to lock your files up, using a mobile file cart, or file storage box on wheels (available from less than $20), which can tuck under your desk when not in use, is another solution to organizing all those papers. This can also be a cheap temporary solution to your overflowing papers and will stop your home office looking quite so office like!
When choosing your cabinet you need to decide if you want to file things horizontally or vertically. Lateral or horizontal filing is what you are probably used to. Hanging folders are suspended in a filing cabinet drawer and you place your papers and manuals inside the appropriate folder. You can add more hanging folders to the ones that come with the cabinet as you need.
There are a wide variety of folder styles available from the concertina interlocking type which stops papers falling between the pockets to the kind where you can remove each folder pocket as required. Files and folders are also available for the green consumer using up to 100% post consumer recycled content.
Another type of filing system, usually used in big offices, is the type where you file all your papers in upright vertical standing folders. When combined in a concertina style it makes for very easy retrieval of your papers and documents as you can easily see at a glance whether you have what you need.