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Effective Methods to Organize Files

Updated on May 16, 2012
Organize Files
Organize Files | Source

Effective Methods to Organize Files

As an administrative professional for over 15 years, I organized many different types of files. What I learned in that time is that the best organizational system is the one that works for you. Since not everyone thinks alike, there is no one best method but there are ones that tend to work better than others. Here are a few different methods I have used over the years that have been the most effective.

Grouping by Type
This is one of the most effective types of organizing files that I have come across. When you group files by type, you will need to take the time to think about what groups make sense for your situation. For example, if you work in the marketing department of a corporation, it may make sense to group files by product if you work on several different products. Think about the types of projects that you work on and figure out where the logical groupings for them would be for you.

Grouping by Use
With this method to organize files, you group files by how often you use them. The ones you access most frequently are the ones that should be the most easily accessible. Another way you can do this is grouping files by how you use them. If you always use certain files for a specific type of project, group all of those files together.

Grouping by Date
Grouping files by date is often helpful for financial information. Proper labeling of files and organizing files with the most recent date at the front is important when using this type of organizational system. A good system is also critical. You will need to decide if you want your files organized by day, week, month, or year.

Typically alphabetical file organization works best after you have already grouped files by type or use as described above. If you organize your entire filing system alphabetically, chances are you will have problems finding what you need. Alphabetical organization works well when you have things filed by people’s name, by company name, or when you have a large number of files that are all within the same group.

When you organize files, the end goal is always to make it easy to find things. If you find yourself constantly looking in the wrong place for a file, you need to take a look at your system and figure out what is not working. You should also be able to easily explain your system to someone else.


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