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The Paper Tiger Blog contains great ideas on better ways to stay organized, clear your desk, reduce stress and spend less time managing information.

A Filing System the Whole Family Can Use

Getting a Grip on Clutter

With the trend moving towards making the home free from clutter, it can seem like it is still a bit of a confusing and overwhelming task. Keep in mind, the first part of the task is dividing up what you are keeping, what you can sell and what you should get ready to be donated, or what needs to be tossed or recycled. The next step is taking what you need to keep and giving it a “value.”

The value of your items is usually split up in the following categories:

  1. Use daily
  2. Use every so often
  3. Rarely use but must keep

If the point of the project is to try to stop collecting clutter, make sure category number three has as few items as possible. Of course, we all realize there are certain items that fall into the last category that must be kept. Now the trick is how to keep everything neat, organized and put away so that you and everyone in your family can find something if they need it.

One of the main reasons that homes get in a state of disorganization is that no one can figure out where anything is or where it goes. You leave an item out because you know if you put it away, you will never find it when you need it. Or someone in your household doesn’t put something away because they have no idea where “away” should be.

Putting a Filing System in Place

Implementing Paper Tiger Filing System Software for document management that will allow you to index items, not just your paper files, is a great way to put an end to this vicious cycle that is keeping the average household cluttered. The best part is that once you have it in place, anyone in your home can use the system to find what they need when they need it, as well as know exactly where to return it once they are finished with it. The great news is everyone in the family doesn’t have to be in agreement for what exactly to name each item in the new filing system.

Let’s imagine you already have this system set up so you can see how easy it is to use. You need to find where exactly you have your antique silverware set because you’ve decided to host a fancy dinner party. By entering the search term “antique silver”, your filing system will give you results the same way an online keyword search would. The search results lets you know it is in the large plastic storage bin marked #3 and that this bin is in the garage.

If you set up your filing system with alternate keywords, anyone using the system can find the same thing. So if you send your husband to look and he types in “grandma’s silver,” or your daughter searches for “silverware,” everyone will still get the same answer and find the item. Not only that, but when it is time to put the item back, you can conduct a search in the database to find where that item goes so it always gets put back in its proper place. Avoid the confusion your household goes through when trying to organize clutter with the simple use of a filing system.

How to Implement Your Filing System

So you’ve sorted the items you are keeping and it’s time to decide a home for each item. Decide how you want to organize the items you plan to keep, then by indexing them into your filing system software, you’ll be able to retrieve them when you need them. An indexing system is a way for you to catalog all the items you put into a bin or box by adding all relating keywords for each item into the software database, and then when you need to find an item later, you conduct a keyword search and you’ll know where that item is located quickly and easily based on the information you’ve input previously.

For the example above with locating your silverware, you’ve stored your silverware in bin #3 along with other relevant items that you might need when you need your silverware, such as a lace tablecloth, napkin rings, candelabra, etc.

In Paper Tiger’s database, you might have a ‘Location’ named Garage. In this Garage Location, you would number your storage containers and enter the content information into your filing system to match each container. You might list your items such as in the example below, and of course, mark each bin to match the item number in Paper Tiger’s database:

Item # 1 in Paper Tiger’s database, Item Name: Bin #1, Keywords: Spring decorations, spring flag, bunnies, tablecloth and picnic items.

Item # 2 in Paper Tiger’s database would match contents in your bin #2, Item Name: Bin #2, Keywords:  might be Crafts, including the different colors of paper you have, types of paper (card stock, construction), and instructions for different projects, etc. You might also have other crafts in this bin that you could list.

Item # 3 in Paper Tiger’s database, Item Name: Bin #3, Keywords: silver, silverware, antique, vintage, grandma’s silver, lace tablecloth, candelabra, silver cleaner

Item # 4 in Paper Tiger’s database, Item Name: Box #4, Keywords: toys, spiderman, etchasketch, Mr. Potato Head, Operation game

Item # 5 in Paper Tiger’s database, Item Name: Box #5, Keywords: kitchen items, old crock pot, blender, extra bowls, mismatched plates

Later you can search for “silver” in Paper Tiger’s database the same way you type keywords to search the Internet on Google. Your indexing system will bring back search results that tell you what bin number the item is in and even where the bin is, and you’ll be able to see what other contents you’ve listed and put in that bin.

Below is another example for your CD’s, and can be used to implement the same concept for your books or any other physical item that you can put a number onto:

1. Name a Location CDs, with capacity of 100 (you can increase this later if you need to) Then print labels for the 100 items ready to affix onto each CD as you index it.

2. Begin indexing your CDs individually by adding a new item in this Location. I would name the item by the name of the movie or topic or singer of the CD, and continue with something like the following:

-Item Name: (name of the movie or topic or singer of the CD)

-Keywords: (actors/speakers, length, rating, brief description)

-If you have Professional or Pro edition, you will be able to apply a Category to the item. If so, add new category for either drama, fiction, comedy, historical, etc. (as info, the Basic edition does not have the Category function) If you have Basic, then you can add the category to the keywords section as well, then when you search for a specific category, Paper Tiger will bring up all of the CDs that you’ve indexed with that category, which is basically the same thing that would happen if you were to select the Category drop down box in Professional or Pro.

3. As you index each CD, affix the corresponding label to it and store in your new place. As you’ll see in this picture below, both the CD and the CD jacket are numbered so when you search Paper Tiger, you can go to the corresponding CD jacket number, and you’ll also know to match the numbers when replacing the CD.

Then obviously, you can go through the stacks of paper files, and index them into Paper Tiger as well. Index the contents of each hanging file folder in your file cabinet, so when you need to reference your insurance file, you’ll know exactly what file it is in without having to worry if you filed it under Insurance, Household, or the insurance company name.

So you see how implementing Paper Tiger Filing System Software for document management can help you get organized and it is a filing system the whole family can use to keep the clutter and chaos to a minimum for organized living!

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