The hardest part in having a proper, functioning filing system is developing the groundwork. It's easy enough to conceive a system, but unless it is ideal for your office and without the right supplies and storage options, it won't work. A good system not only gets the job done, it is simple, logical and effortless enough that you'll stick with it. The first step is making sure the right folders are in the right place every time.
The first thing to determine is how often files need to be retrieved. This can help determine whether an end tab or top tab system is right for you. Either way, this guide can help you find the folders you need. End tab filing systems stack on a shelf along the wall, making both the folders and their labels readily visible for everybody to access. These are perfect for reception areas, particularly at clinics or offices where all employees need to pull client files quickly.
Files that aren't recalled as often should go into hanging file systems. These are top tab folders that hang on rails built into most cabinets and pedestal files. Files meant for one employee or a household should go into a pedestal file that fits under the desk (frames are available for drawers without rails). General company files that everybody may need access to or that accumulate over time should go into a central filing cabinet.
Vertical filing cabinets take up less space but are harder to retrieve files- use these for archives that won't need to be recalled often. Since lateral files keep all files closer to the floor and are filed from side to side, they are easier to retrieve and should be used with items that are more likely to be needed again. While large stacks in a single folder may defeat the purpose of organizing papers, use box bottom folders when it's necessary. Box Bottom folders are reinforced at the bottom and will support more weight.
Files that a single user will refer to frequently shouldn't be stuffed into a cabinet at all, but that doesn't mean they can't be organized. Desktop file sorters or frames keep top-tab folders straight on the desk. Using hanging files here will make it even easier if these folders will eventually find their way into a cabinet.