Storing paperwork: Simple filing systems for your records

Even though our reliance on computers has become frustratingly absolute, most of us probably have more than a few stacks of paper, box files or fat envelopes full of receipts cluttering up our homes, offices, and home offices. Anyone who has been buried in an avalanche of tax forms at some point in their life will know all too well the importance of keeping a well-organised filing system.

Paperwork can mount up quickly, and it is easily to get totally overwhelmed before you even know it. Even if you are on top of things, files can still take up a lot of space – especially if you run your own business from home or in a smaller office. There are some documents that, even if you know you may never have to look at again, simply can’t be thrown away, leaving you with an ever-growing archive and an ever-shrinking space.

Self-storage provides a useful solution to this problem: inexpensive rental costs compared to moving to a bigger office, climate controlled to prevent damp or condensation damaging important documents, flexible access to suit working hours, and a quiet space to work.

If the move to a self-storage unit for your document archive sounds like a good idea, it could also be a great excuse for a bit of a de-clutter. If you have an intimidating ’to file’ pile, or too many overflowing folders, then this is the time to go through each one, one document at a time, and chuck out the things you really don’t need!

Once you’re down to just the important stuff, it’s time to get things organised. Of course, the storage solutions you use will depend on your business activity – what you’re storing, and how often you access it – so it’s important to use the right things.

For example, big storage boxes are an easy way to get large amounts of documents out of the way, but are they really all that practical if you’re storing documents that you need to access regularly? The temptation will always be to just dump new bits on top, and you’ll have to sift through the stack to find what you need – smaller, more specific box files could be a better solution if you’re using your files every week. Remember, your filing system needs to solve problems, not create them!

However, the most essential thing to ensure you get right is labelling – what’s the use of having everything conveniently stored in one place if you can never actually find anything? A simple, alphabetical filing system will always be the easiest to set up and negotiate, particularly if you’re storing something like client information. For personal finances or business tax records, on the other hand, a chronological system might be more useful – a file for each month, for example.

Finally, make sure you have the right storage solution for your storage solutions – with some sturdy shelves to keep everything in order, you’ll have the ideal self-storage filing system to keep all of your essential documents organised and out of the way