My filing system makeover

Over the weekend I was feeling a little inspired by all of this filing cabinet talk and got to thinking that my own filing cabinet drawer, while functional, was looking a little rough for wear.  My file folders, once white, were now yellow and torn and my chicken scratch was looking a little messy.   It’s been this way for years so it hasn’t bothered me that much but in honor of filing cabinet month I give you my own filing cabinet makeover.





Here’s what I did:

Using my Dymo LetraTag Pluslabel maker (which I will be happily reviewing soon!) I re-did the main category labels and inserted them into the yellow plastic tabs that are attached to the yellow hanging file folders.

Using Word I created and printed labels for all my sub-categories and then affixed those to new manila white file folders.

I alphabetized all my categories to make finding the one I need faster.

My categories (I’ve listed the sub categories in brackets) are:

House (Purchase Info, Mtg Info, Assessments/Property Tax)
Taxes (sub divided by year)
Bank Statements (Chequing, Savings, Credit Line)
Investments (RSPs, RESPs)
Bills (Phone, Gas, Hydro, Cable)
Credit Cards
Van (Purchase Info, Repairs)
Insurance (House, Van, Medical)
Employment (Resume, Contracts, Paystubs)
Misc (Subscriptions, Aeroplan, Airmiles, Medic Alert, etc.)
Travel (sub divided by location)

Note: my product manuals are filed separately using this system.

I’m actually excited about filing now and I have a feeling I might even be able to improve on my once a year filing habit now.  If that happens it would be a great outcome for about an hour’s worth of work.  Yay!

How are you making out with your filing?

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Filed under: Office


49 Responses to My filing system makeover

  1. 1
    Abby says

    This is too weird, your post put the bug in me too! I just did the same exact thing today, with my Dymo LetraTag (my take from a Christmas gift exchange). I went out and bought new hanging files and file folders to make everything look pretty!

  2. 2
    Ashley Nichole says

    Love my Dymo! That looks really nice. I know what I am going to be doing tomorrow!

    Ashley Nichole.

  3. 3
    Organising Queen says

    Laura, great makeover!

    I am way too lazy to type anything; I just write on them. Fortunately my handwriting is quite neat, especially when I use a nice permanent marker

  4. 4
    Kim says

    Wait! There’s national filing cabinet month? Then there in fact has to be an eat chocolate every day month somewhere! Right?
    Your cabinets look great. Mine desperately need a makeover.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. 5
    Taylor at HM 101 says

    I think your before picture is wonderful actually, and would be happy with that myself. But, when you get a bug to organize you might as well go with it. Plus, getting you excited about filing, which is not one of my greatest pleasures in life, is an definite added benefit.

    I guess David Allen was right, label makes can make filing more fun!

  6. 6
    Sher's Creative Expr says

    Wow, I personally thought your before picture was pretty good already. You should see mine :( ~ I’d take your before in a heartbeat!



  7. 7
    Tracy says

    Gave me the bug too! I thought about taking pictures but I was too embarrassed of the before shot. 2 hrs and 2 trash bags later, the whole main computer, office, and filing area of my bedroom is done! Thank you!

  8. 8
    Elizabeth says

    Lots of Dymo love here. I love it!

  9. 9
    LaTanya says

    Your files look great. I need to get to work on my filing system. My first filing system was done right when I got married and had no clue what I was doing. It works but it is not very user friendly. I think I’ll be going to by me a label maker this week!

  10. 10
    Gayle says

    I have totally been putting off doing my file cabinet (and filing!) at work and at home. You have inspired me. =) I am going to get the supplies I need this week and have a filing cabinet makeover this weekend. Thanks!!

    Have a wonderful week.


  11. 11
    Susanne says

    What a difference using a labeler. It seems to be so much easier to read the bold print on the files.

  12. 12
    Steph's Mommy Brain says

    Looks great! I’ve been thinking about buying a label machine. I’m looking forward to your review.

  13. 13
    Heather says

    That is weird I redid mine to that day.

  14. 14
    Kris says

    Yea… I am still working on it. I shredded all the junk paper. I just have to figure out what to do with the rest.

  15. 15
    Debbie says

    Great post and pictures. I love those label makers, can’t get enough of them. I have to hide them from my hubby though, he likes to play with the buttons and uses up all the tape! Your filing looks amazing!!! Woohoo!

  16. 16
    Barb says

    My files are a mess! I try to kid myself into thinking it’s OK because it looks fine, when I close the file drawers. But I know what’s lurking in there and I seriously need to do exactly what you did. I’ve still got paid utility bills from three houses ago in my files. Sigh.

  17. 17
    Thea @ I'm a Drama Mama says

    I actually decided against using my label maker. I went to get it, but then decided that I was starting to obsess a little bit in my file drawer. It worked for me to NOT be pretty if that makes sense, LOL! I’m trying to learn to live a little more simply this year…

  18. 18
    Sarah H. says

    Sweet upgrade…it looks fabulous! I love the before and after effect.

  19. 19
    Cat Martin says

    I went from a 2 drawer filing cabinet that was overflowing to filling only 1 drawer (including manuals). I sorted all of the stuff (which I had not touched in 3 years). I ended up with 3 stacks that were about the same height, one to file, one to shred and one to throw away. You inspired me!

  20. 20
    Forgetfulone says

    Your new files look great! With mom being in the hospital, I haven’t had time to file. In fact, I’m reminded now that I need to pay some bills.

  21. 21
    Rochelle says

    Looks great!! I love my little label maker. It’s so handy, isn’t it?! You did a great job, you go you!

  22. 22
    Cathy | Strawberries says

    Wow! Those look awesome – I love the white – so much neater… and the typed labels – how VERY organized of you! :) It’s like therapy isn’t it? But cheaper.

  23. 24
    Megan @ Disorder2Order says

    Don’t you love a clean and organized file drawer? I did a post about this back in December and I have to tell you, this makes filing fun!

    Beautiful… the file cabinet that is…

  24. 25
    ter says

    I am in need of a label maker, so I’m looking forward to reading your review!!

    Maybe I’ll work on the filing cabinet this weekend. It’s pretty organized for the most part, I just need to rid of the old papers that are no longer needed to make room for the new papers.

  25. 26
    Roan says

    I love your blog! We are kindred spririts! I love to organize! I love to buy containers, fill them, and label them.
    I need to work on my files too. I have a drawer full of “needs to be filed”. I also alphabetize my files. I think I will take a before and after pic and post it on my blog!

  26. 27
    Jenna says

    I cleared mine out the other day but i think i need to put it in alphabetical order too! Thanks for the idea

  27. 28
    Amy says

    Truly a thing of beauty. I need one of those Dymo thingies :)

    I just re-did mine, too. Ah, the beauty of alphabetizing…

  28. 30
    Lori says

    You’re filing looks great – inspires me as well. I noticed you file your bank statements – I like putting mine in a 3-ring binder instead of in a drawer. For me it saves space & I can easily flip through them if I need something!
    Love your posts – great ideas & tips, thanks for sharing with us.

  29. 31
    Chris G says

    I like the look of a tidy drawer (yes, I am just a little OCD) and instead of file folders, I use 9 X 12 kraft envelopes to keep everything tidy.

    I don’t seal them, but I can pull out the complete envelope and everything is altogether. I use Avery removable id labels (Avery 6498), so I can re-use the envelopes (recycle, reuse)when I change my requirements.

    I use this same idea for warrenties. One envelope with a label on the right side with model, date purchased & serial #, that way when I have any bills to go with it, it’s all there.

    Enjoy the blog, keep those ideas coming.

  30. 32
    Pamela says

    Oooooo, I just got the same label maker at Costco this week!! I’ve been labeling everything – even my baby!

  31. 33
    The Roost says

    That looks so nice and neat. I really need to go through my files and weed old stuff out of them!

  32. 34
    Rebecca says

    What a nice looking filing system! I finally redid my business files into ONE location rather than 2+…much easier to find things quickly now! And I have room to add more as needed. =]

  33. 35
    Jenny says

    My filing system is absolutely disgusting!! That was one of my goals for this year to organize it…I think my hubby would fall over and die!!
    That and my fridge…it’s an unorganized mess and doesn’t seem to house anything properly.

  34. 36
    susieshomemade says

    I love that labler!!! The best thing ever:-) And, I did my file cabinet a couple weeks ago. It feel so good to start the new year organized and ready to go:-)

  35. 38
    Crumbs on my Floor says

    Wow, great photos. I’m getting a little misty eyed just looking at them.

    Take care,

  36. 39
    Leigh Anne says

    It looks so pretty! I am definitely one of those that believes things should not only be organized but look pretty too!!

  37. 40
    Linda says

    Your before and afters are a great idea.
    I just picked up my supplies, I’m color coding my files so I can file and find
    things quicker ,green for finances,red for important doc.Blue for travel, etc .
    I really loved the look of the homebox,but I can’t afford it right now,and have way to much to sort through now, but maybe later when I get things down to whats really important!!!

  38. 41
    Lori says

    At first I didn’t think I’d have a use for this product, but now I’m kind of hoping I win!!!

  39. 43
    Cath says

    I went to use my Dymo LetraTag only to find it doesn’t print :( Changed the batterys, changed to different tape, cleaned the printhead, but still it no print. At times it prints but misses all the vertical lines. E.g, the letter “I” will not print, and “E” prints only the horizontal dashes.

    Anyone have any advise to get my LetraTag printing?

  40. 44
    Laure says

    Why bother with a Dymo Letra?

    I made a document years ago using the table function in Word so that each cell is the same size as a tab for my fifth-cut tabs.

    After some experimentation, I leave enough blank spaces for a tri-fold tab that holds its place really well.

    When I want new tabs, I just type in what I want and print it, cut ’em up and use them. Some things I have permanent docs for, like A-Z.

  41. 45
    Laure says

    I don’t use tons of internal folders, and prefer to hand-write on those in pencil so they can be re-used with minimal fuss.

  42. 46
    katzien says

    The day I decided to make our own file cabinet system was the day I realized that I put more energy and care into keeping my boss’s personal life organized than I did my own. What an eye-opener. I went that day to buy my filing cabinets and supplies at Target. I loved the process of thinkng through the necessary categories and making the labels. That was more than 5 years ago. I think I need to revisit my system and do an update. Thanks!!

  43. 47
    ~Kacy~ says

    I came across your site today and am pleasantly pleased. Thanks for all of your tips. As for filing, I went paperless 2 years ago and it was the absolute best decision I ever made. No more paperwork laying around, just scan and shred. Your cabinet looks great too! I’ll be back to visit! God Bless!

  44. 48
    Judy says

    Hi-just found your website and it is great! But the link for your product manual filing method doesn’t work anymore. Can you fix it because I really need help with this! Thanks! Judy

  45. 49
    JNEmbry says

    Can you post a link for the white folders?


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