Best Filing System for Home

What is the best filing system for home paperwork? I get this question all the time. I wish I had a nickel for each time I have answered this. However, the answer is just not as easy as it may seem.

So what I am going to try to do for you is help you determine what the options are and then you can hone them to fit your particular situation.

Paper or Digital?

The biggest decision you will need to make is if you want a digital system or a paper based system. There are pros and cons for each.

If you are not comfortable on the computer, doing scanning and classifying, and backing up then you will want to stick to the paper system.

If you are comfortable with the computer, you can use a digital system where you can scan all your receipts, statements and other documents and store electronically.

The other option is a hybrid of the paper and digital system. You can keep some documents on the computer and others in a paper file system.

Storage Options

The next decision in the best filing system for home will be how you are going to store the documents. First and foremost you will want to make sure your documents are safe and protected.

If you decide to go with the digital filing system you must make sure that your files are backed up. You can either do this online with something like Carbonite, or you can save the files to a flash drive and store them in a secure place. That secure place would be something like a safety-deposit box. Under no circumstances save your files on your computer and not provide for some type of backup. This is just asking for trouble and believe me you will get it.

If you decide to go with the Paper System you have a much more dangerous situation. All it takes is one house fire, or hurricane, and your files are destroyed. If this is your situation I strongly suggest you get a fire proof file box. They are not cheap but it will be well worth the investment later down the line. If you cannot afford a fire proof file box then I would take the most vulnerable files and store them offsite like in a safety-deposit box. These files would be ones that are replaceable. For instance, you may have loaned someone money and have an original signed loan agreement. Make sure this type of document is protected.

Other options for the best filing system for home include an expandable folder, a plastic file box, a drawer in a desk, a three ring binder or any other of the many options. The most important thing to remember is make your system easy to work with, comfortable to maintain, accessible, and located all in one place.

If you are going for a combination system, partially digital and partially paper, make sure your most vulnerable files are stored digitally. This will save you lots of trouble in the long run.

Types of Folders

What types of folders are the ones for a best filing system for home? There are several types of folders that are on the market that to help you with your organizational needs. Here are some of the options you may have.

Hanging folders, or the type that have a rod through the top and easily slide back and forth on frame, are the most commonly used folders for organizing any kind of paperwork. These types of folders usually have a tag on the folder that can be changed when the folder is reused. Some of the new hanging folders are coming with the tag permanently attached.

Some people just use Manila folders if their filing is not extensive.

And if you are using an expandable type folder you can create the labels to match your needs.


Take a look of the above options and see what combination fits you for the best filing system for home.

Most of the system will work as long as you are consistent you maintain it and it is usable for other people in case you are injured or killed. Remember these other people may need to use your files to help you during a time of crisis.

Make sure your files are in good order.

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