Hanging files vs Manila

When you are buying file folders to organize your papers, your first decisions will be letter or legal (size) and hanging or not.

file folder

Regular manila folders are great for holding papers, and have nice tabs to write on, but if you place them in a drawer or box and there is empty space, they will fall over in an intensely annoying way.

If your drawer or box has rails along the sides, you want some hanging files to stop the falling-over issue.

hanging file folder

These will glide smoothly along and not fall over, even if there are only a few in the drawer. They aren’t as comfortable as the manila file for carrying around, though.

Even better is a combination of the two; use the hanging file as a place holder, and put the manila file in it for easy removal and transport. Label both: use a plastic tab on the hanging folder and just write on the inner file.

file box, plastic, with hanging files

That way you will always know where to put the file back. If your inner files are not too big, you may be able to combine several of the same category in a hanging file. For example, have a hanging file named “credit cards” and an inner manila file for each one: Mastercard, Visa etc.

Unlike the photo above, I recommend putting all the tabs in a row. They’re easier to read, and you don’t have to rearrange them if you file something new in between. If the manila tabs were all on the right (as above) I would put all the hanging file plastic tabs on the left,so they wouldn’t cover each other.

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