Both home and workplace offices can easily become overwhelmed with files and paperwork. The easiest and most effective way to tidy this clutter is with filing cabinets. There are two main types of cabinets: lateral and vertical. Both can save you precious time that would otherwise be wasted searching for the right file. There are also several techniques you can employ to improve your filing and create a smooth and efficient system.
Create a Filing System
Create a logical system that you know you can stick to easily. Dedicate some time to setting up your filing cabinets early so you can simply add to them as necessary in the future. Filing systems can be organised any number of ways. You can create categories within the drawer, use the alphabet to arrange files, sort by client, or even sort by date. The sections in the drawer should be specific enough that they won’t be overflowing, but not to the point where each section only has one or two pages in it.
Filing cabinets can only hold a finite number of files, so be sure to create a logical system that allows you to destroy files when they’re no longer relevant without having to check dates on every file.
Colour Code and Personalise
Colour coded files are easy to locate and help create a much more efficient process. If your files are sorted according to colours or patterns, you’ll get used to them and your eye will quickly find the section you need every time. Not only do colour coordinated filing cabinets improve your system, but they also look more appealing. A cabinet you can be proud of is more likely to be used than one that is dull, drab and depressing.
Colour doesn’t have to be used for the entire system. Instead, you can opt to selectively add colour to your folders so specific ones stand out. This can be useful when organising files by clients, allowing you to make larger or more common clients stand out.
Choose the Right Cabinet
Choosing between a vertical or lateral cabinet is relatively simple. Vertical cabinets are the classic type, with several standard sized drawers on top of each other. These drawers are conventional, making them perfect for regular sized documents. They take up minimal space and several can be used alongside each other to maximise storage.
Lateral filing cabinets allow for extra room in each drawer, which is beneficial if you require more versatility for the files. They also take up less wall space, meaning the space above can be used for just about anything.
You should choose a filing cabinet based on the size and the amount of weight each drawer can carry. A poorly made system will buckle under your papers and start to jam. Thin metals and weak suspensions can also cause these problems over time. A thicker metal will add stability to the cabinet and offer further protection for everything held inside, sometimes even against fire. Consider whether this is something you need when purchasing.