Do you work from home most of the time? If so, you probably have papers that need to be filed. Whether they are long-term storage or short-term task papers, you will need places to store these things to be able to retrieve them easily. This week we are talking about the essential business home office filing systems you need to make your office work more efficiently.
Let’s start with the temporary papers in your office.
Table of contents
Temporary Home Office Filing System
These temporary filing systems are papers that need to be looked at and used right away. It doesn’t need a permanent spot. Some examples of places to store these papers are:
- In bin on the desk.
- Bills go through and pay area.
Bins to use for these could be open, closed, stacked, or mounted to the wall. Pick whichever one works for your home office. Below are some I found on Amazon (affiliate). If you click through and buy, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.
Now, let’s look at the paper files that are readily looked at and used almost every day.
Active Home Office Filing System
These active home office filing systems are usually near your desk in a side drawer that is easily accessible. Items included in this area are:
- Stamps, envelopes, and return address labels
- Paper for the current year.
- Reference information.
- Checkbooks and other account information.
- Current files you may need to reference.
- Paperwork you need to reference yearly.
- Projects you are currently working on.
This filing cabinet should have a lock so that no one can get in there. Place the extra key in a safe place and let someone close to you know where you stored it.
Below are some examples of what the active home office filing system looks like. I found these on Amazon (affiliate).
Let’s look at the next area, which is the long-term home office files.
Long-Term Home Office Filing System
This long-term home office filing system is for stuff you need to look at but don’t need right away. Some items to place here are:
- Manuals for equipment.
- Old client files.
- Old associations paperwork.
- Resources that are needed periodically – one or twice a year.
- Storage for office supplies.
If you want, you can also use a filing cabinet with bins or magazine holders to hold these items.
The below filing cabinets are essential for storing these items. I found them on Amazon (affiliate).
Important Long-Term Home Office Filing System
And last but not least filing system is for long-term important documents.
This important long-term home office filing system can be placed in plastic bins with lids and stored in a secure water-tight space. If you choose to use cardboard boxes for these papers, keep in mind that you need a dry place for them. Any humidity can damage the boxes and destroy the papers inside. Some items that are stored in this area could be:
- Tax returns and supporting paperwork.
- Old checks and other financial paperwork.
- Corporation and LLC paperwork.
- Will and insurance documents.
Keeping these papers well-marked will make it easy if you need to retrieve them. I like using a clearly marked label on the front of the box. The labels should stick well.
Writing the content name using a permanent marker directly on the front of the box may be an issue because if you want to reuse it, it will not be easy to remove. It is better to purchase labels that are specially designed for these boxes. Check out the ones I found on Amazon (affiliate).
And for this long-term home office filing system, it is important to have lids to protect them from getting wet or destroyed prior to them getting outdated. You can visit our post about “How Long Should I Keep Business Records.” I hope it helps you determine what you truly need to keep.
Below are some examples of bins to use for this long-term filing system.
How much room should I use for my Home Office long-term files?
Try to have room for at least 3 years to 5 years’ worth of boxes. Depending on how much paper you have, it could take up to 24 inches wide by 36 inches high. And, with the plastic boxes, you can easily stack them up a max of 4 bins high.
Now that we have gone through all these filing systems. Remember, revisit these filing systems each year to purge (shred) unwanted items because it will keep your home office less cluttered – saving you space and reminding you what you have and where things are placed.
I hope this post gives you some directions on what to do to create effective home office filing systems. Do you have any questions about these filing systems? Please leave a comment below, and I will get back to you as quickly as possible.
Below are some other posts I found online about business home office filing systems:
Visit our other paper management filing systems here.
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