Every home and office needs some sort of filing system. Bringing computers into our spaces did not reduce the quantity of paper we receive or hang on to, it seems. But this creates a dilemma for many people: where to put that filing system?
a) On the dining room table?
b) On the kitchen counter?
c) In a box?
d) In a filing cabinet?
If you answered a) or b), you have lots of company. That’s the favorite spot in many homes. We will not, however, be counting that as a system.
c) The box is a step up. At least the pile is contained. If there are files in the box, we will call that a system. In fact, if you have limited space or money, it can be a good system.
This can fit into a corner of your closet, and easily pulls out when you’re taking care of business. If you are able to keep only what you need, it is probably large enough for your current papers. Use hanging files to make it even more convenient.
If you have a bit of space to call your office, you may want to invest in d) a filing cabinet. Here’s some friendly advice from the voice of experience: do not waste your money on a cheapo metal cabinet. Once they get some (heavy) paper in them, they are difficult to open and close, and groan and screech with the effort, and become so difficult to use that you may start piling things on top rather than opening those drawers. That defeats the purpose.
Buy a filing cabinet that opens and closes smoothly. If a new one is too expensive, watch for auctions of office furniture. When businesses are redecorating, moving, or shutting down, they get rid of some high-quality equipment, often at low prices.
If your “office” does double duty as a living or dining room- and that is a fact of life in many homes- and you don’t want to look at a metal filing cabinet (who would?) search for one that is a little prettier. These cabinets from the Bombay Company (bombay.ca) hold a lot of files, yet are nice enough to put in any room.
(No money or product, or any other consideration, was received for this recommendation. Any of the products mentioned that I happen to own, were paid for with hard-earned cash.)