The Easiest Filing System

If you’re like most women, the word “file” makes you shudder and reach for
the cheesecake.

Life Coach and Author Connie Sokol shares a 4-step approach she calls “the
easiest filing system ever!”

If you’re like most women, the word “file” makes you shudder and reach for
the cheesecake. But messy files and lost documents have a cost. Studies
show that the average U.S. Executive wastes six weeks per year searching for
missing information in cluttered desks and files—about one hour a day. That
adds up (and could be used for a nice bath and a good book). Instead of
avoiding the filing abyss, try this super quick filing system to get and stay

Choose your categories. First determine which five to seven
categories you most often use and can remember (no more than 5-7!)
Typical categories include Legal/Taxes, Medical, House and Warranty,
Insurance, and Financial.

Do a Simple Sort. Choose five to seven small storage tubs (I use
basic clear ones), a larger “To Do” tub, and a garbage bag. Place them in a
semi-circle before you (on the floor is the most ideal). Write the 5-7
categories on sticky notes and apply to individual tubs. Then take a basket of
messy papers and, one at a time, use the 3-second rule: only take three
seconds to decide where it goes. Put it in the tub that best fits and “fuhget
about it.” Remember, we’re NOT fully organizing what goes in each tub—not
yet. We’re doing a simple sort to separate the papers into main categories.
Beautifully, you can stop and start anytime. Simply stack the tubs out of sight
then later continue where you left off.

Do a Detail Sort. When you desire, take each main category tub and
get nitty gritty with the subcategories. First, consider what they are. For
example, Medical might include the following: Medical—Children, Medical—
Pregnancy, Medical—Parents and Medicare, etc. Write these subcategories on
file folder labels in pencil so you can change your mind. Remember 80% of
what is in our file cabinets is never looked at again, so keep what really
counts and can’t be easily duplicated.

To make subcategory sorts even easier, use colored file folders for each main
category. For example: financial (green), house and warranty (blue), medical
(red), etc. Put the white file folder label on the folder, then toss in the
subcategory paper. Easy peesy, lemon squeezy.

Lastly, make a File Map. Quickly type the categories and
subcategories you’ve actually used. Put this main File Map paper in front of
the big file drawer or file tub. This makes filing future papers a snap,
especially when you can’t remember what subcategories are available. I also
have a “Mom Binder” to keep the most important documents at my fingertips
(i.e. children’s immunizations, meal planning, contact numbers, etc.)

This filing system works, so quickly and easily too. Recently my husband
needed to renew his driver’s license as it was due and we were leaving on
vacation. Running out the door to renew it, he realized he needed his vital
documents—birth certificate, passport, etc. I went right to my filing system,
opened the Legal folder, picked out the file “Vital Documents” and there they
were. A fabulous mother moment worthy of a cupcake reward. So give this
filing system a try and enjoy the reduced clutter, mess, and stress.

Connie Sokol is a mother of six—expecting her seventh—and just released
her newest book, Motherhood Matters: Joyful Reminders of the Divinity,
Reality, and Rewards of Motherhood. She is a TV contributor for KSL’s “Studio
5”, a presenter, and former TV and radio host. For her books, tips, product,
and free podcasts, visit

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