Organizing Your Paper Filing System

Tip: Yes I said Paper. I have not met a professional developer or technology specialist yet who has tossed all of his/her paper files. We talk about making a paperless classroom and office, but there are very few of us who can say they are completely paperless. So first things first, we need to organize our paper
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Yes I said Paper. I have not met a professional developer or technology specialist yet who has tossed all of his/her paper files. We talk about making a paperless classroom and office, but there are very few of us who can say they are completely paperless. So first things first, we need to organize our paper files and then determine which ones are worthy to digitize.

Imagine pulling out a file drawer and effortlessly finding just what you need. This can happen with a little work on your part to create the filing cabinet you always hoped to have.

Decide on a system of categorizing and labeling your files. If you need to brainstorm, use Inspiration or post-it notes. I used Inspiration when coming up with categories for my QuickBook files. Whatever label you assign to your paper files can also be assigned to your electronic files.

  1. Start writing down folder names with nouns: "3-5 math lessons," "Ancient History resources," "One computer in the classroom," etc. I used Inspiration RapidFire to do this.
  2. Cluster folder names that are similar and come up with a hanging folder that will contain several of your manila folders.
  3. Color code folders with similar focus. So if you have lesson ideas for different grade levels, use the same color label for all the folders.
  4. If you have an entire drawer of folders to which you constantly refer, have it easily in your reach as either the first drawer or a rolling filing cabinet.
  5. Create a tickler file of current papers to go through. This can be an accordion file that you review regularly.
  6. Limit the number of drawers for file folders. If you create more than two, plan on reviewing the first two drawers to remove or archive files. Just do not mix files you need right away with those you archive.
  • Create a legend for others to quickly find the resources on a specific area.
  • Tape the legend inside the drawer in plain view.

Now I sound like I'm organized, right? I have files all over the place. I just started organizing and purging files. I have several drawers of files at home and at work. By the time this tip comes out, I plan to be down to fewer drawers and, hopefully, digitize those that are really important.

I can share that every category in QuickBooks is similar to each file folder. I have a hanging folder for each category and manila folders for each expense item, i.e. Travel > lodging. When I return, I know exactly where to put my receipts after inputting into QuickBooks.

Next Tip: What Makes a Good Online Project ?

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