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Get Your File Cabinet Organized Like a Pro

Paper is probably the bulk of your household clutter. It finds its way into every nook and cranny of your home and before you know it, you can’t find what you’re looking for when you need it! Getting your paper problem under control is easy, and will only take a few supplies! Everyone has a paper pile, or a “sort” bin somewhere in the house. Now it’s time to deal with it! Round up all of the paper clutter in your house, and let’s get started!

file cabinet organization tips & ideas | free printable labels | end the paper clutter mess | organizing paperwork made easy

File Cabinet Organization


Once you have all of your paper in one place, we are going to do a quick organization to identify each paper into one of these categories:

  • Shred
  • Recycle
  • Keep

I recommend getting three separate boxes, and organize your paper that way. This initial step in the file cabinet organization process will help minimize the amount of papers you are dealing with at a time, making it easier to tackle the large stack you started with. Once you’ve sorted your papers, go ahead and recycle the ones in your recycle pile, and shred the ones in the shred box. Do this first, so you’re not tempted to move any of your papers from their existing piles, only to end up with a giant keep pile of things you don’t need.

At this point, you should only be left with items in your keep pile, so it’s time to organize it! Using this method, we are going to organize all of your papers into a filing system. To do this you will need some labels, hanging files and  file folders, and either a filing cabinet or few file storage boxes (how many will depend on how much paper you have left).

If you don’t have an inbox for your papers, you should start by making a place to put your incoming paper clutter. Until you have had time to sort your papers, you need to make sure all of your items go here.

file cabinet organization tips & ideas | free printable labels | end the paper clutter mess | organizing paperwork made easy file cabinet organization tips & ideas | free printable labels | end the paper clutter mess | organizing paperwork made easy

Next, take a look at your remaining papers and organize them into categories. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Finance
  • Medical
  • Insurance
  • Personal
  • Bills

Then, take the categories you’ve created and make labels for your file folders or better yet, use the free download from below (bottom of the post) and print on to your labels for the hanging folders. I recommend further subcategorizing as well, such as medical records and HSA for medical if you want!

file cabinet organization tips & ideas | free printable labels | end the paper clutter mess | organizing paperwork made easy

Finally, take your file folders and add them to your bins or file cabinet. You can either choose to have a bin for each category (if you have a lot of papers to organize) or put them in a single bin in a way that makes sense to you. As you continue to receive or need to get papers, you can easily find the ones you need thanks to your neatly organized file cabinet! I love to organize my kid’s school papers following a similar process.



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  1. Hi Heather,
    I love your file labels and have downloaded them. Thank you for sharing! I would like to add more for myself only. Would you be willing to share the font names? I ordered the labels you suggest, but it looks like they are stick on address labels. Is this correct?
    Any help you can give would be much appreciated.

  2. One of the problems I used to have with keeping papers organized were household items and their owners Manuel’s and receipts … when filing these items, I found it helpful to label my folders by rooms and place the paperwork in the files by the room they are in. So… snow blower goes In garage file, new dining roomi set goes in dining room, vacumn cleaner goes in laundry room file, treadmill goes in basement etc. love your site !

  3. What did you use to create the template you’ve shared in PDF? I downloaded the Avery 5276 template in Word format but I’m curious as to how you created the text overlaid on each other. For example, “home owner’s” on top of “INSURANCE”. Can you provide some insight? Thanks!

  4. Each page normally has me put my name and email and it sends it to me but this one on my phone just pops up and you can’t see or access the area to do that and now it’s pulling a different file to download. I’ll try from a desktop and see if it works

      1. Hi Heather! I love these can you do a custom run for me? can you private message me I would like to get organized with all my work files. Or if you can make me a editable file with this layed out so I can alter and print as I like

        Love all your organizing tips!!

    1. I found the comment above in which you named it as well as alternatives. Thanks!
      For some reason searching the page for “font” yielded 0 results when I tried it, so I just decided to read all the comments on the chance it was in fact there and it was!

  5. i recieved as a PDF. Could it be sent as a Word document so that I can modify it and add subcategories and colors?
    Thank you

  6. Home goods, their owners’ names, and invoices were some of the issues I used to have with keeping my files organized. I discovered that labeling my folders by rooms and placing the documents in the files by the room it is in was beneficial when filing these things.

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