Filing Cabinet Organization

Although it is basically unavoidable, I love a clutter free workspace.  As someone who is easily distracted, having piles of papers and accessories makes me twitchy.  So yeah, my desk typically looks pretty snazzy.... the secret lies within the nearby drawers!

As in my dirty little secret.  It is like I basically use my arm to swoop my clutter right into the drawers of my filing cabinet tucked below my desk.


I actually really love the filing cabinet itself... I purchased it last year at CB2.  After bringing home two different Goodwill options to makeover, I wasn't finding that they were offing the types of storage that I was after, and they were not smooth to open and close.  When I was window shopping at CB2, the filing cabinet caught my eye and landed right into the trunk of my car.  It was a winner!

A winner at concealing my clutter in a very unorganized way.  Which was totally my fault.  I just have not taken the time to give this beauty the attention she deserves.  Until today.

A few weeks ago quarterly taxes were due and I searched high and low for those statement stubs.  I looked in binders, planners, and through the catch-all files that lived in this filing cabinet.  After over an hour of searching and having a small meltdown, I found just what I needed.  And moved the filing cabinet clean-out high on my priority list.

Here is what I started out with.

The top drawer held random files and a lot of clutter.  The second drawer did the same.  The third drawer was the start to my file organization from many months ago, however, because nothing ever was truly sorted or labeled, every last paper that I filed landed in a big "to file" file in the back of the drawer.  Nice.

This was NOT a quick process.  I had a lot of papers to go through as well as clutter to sort down and organize.  Thank you Netflix, you saved the day once again.

As always, I emptied out every last drawer to see what I was working with and to just go big or go home.

I started with the fun accessory drawer stuff, I would rather organize items than boring papers any day...  Knowing I had a lot of small items that needed to be corralled within the top two drawers, I hunted down box lids, DIY paper boxes, jewelry boxes, empty note card boxes, etc... anything that could act as a drawer divider.

I purged down items that no longer needed to be in the drawer, put other items back where they truly belonged and the rest ended up nice and neat in the file cabinet drawers.  I think I just might leave this one open all day, every day....

And drawer number two:

Not earth shattering stuff but FAR better nonetheless!

And then it happened.  I sorted and sorted and sorted papers some more.  Blah.  Why can't bank statements be printed on pretty pink paper and why aren't life insurance documents done with rainbow borders of happiness?  Someone make that happen m'kay?

I blurred out the documents, but you can still take a peek at the color coding system I used.  I purchased file folders from The Container Store in three colors, blue, pink and green.  I used pink for my business files {of course}, blue for personal files and green for financial/important files.

I already had hanging folders inside of the cabinet which came with tabbed labels {these from Amazon}.  I prefer labeling the hanging folder over the individual folders because it stands up higher and is easier to read.  The hanging files were Pendaflex brand and a simple Google search brought up a label template for me to download into Microsoft Word to edit.  I printed the labels using matching colors to the file folders.  Pretty neat how that works!

Once cut down to size, they fit perfectly into the plastic label holders.

I use my business files much more frequently than our personal files {many of our personal statements end up in our budget binder}, so I placed them within the filing cabinet accordingly.

Once the hanging files were labeled, I popped all of the individual files inside and filled up the drawer.

I really didn't think it would be possible, but I got a little giddy inside about how the organized files turned out.  Totally worth the time it took to touch every last piece of paper.

The outside of the cabinet received a small splash of color with some more printed labels popped into my favorite adhesive label holders.

And a final celebratory after photo.  Be still my happy heart!

Now that it is done, I have a feeling it will increase the amount of grinning I am doing while working at my desk.  And when I need to find next quarter's tax filing voucher! 

Have you recently tackled something you have been dreading for a long period of time?  Was it as bad as you thought it would  be?

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