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Need better organizational system

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Question: I need help organizing/cross-referencing file folders. My boss writes the name on the material and keeps it in either his office or mine. The problem occurs when he has a new or follow-up meeting that some of this information could pertain to; we can't locate everything because different names of folders may apply to similar information, etc.

This has been ongoing but now is occurring more frequently. Please help. Thanks.  -- Donna



Try color coding based on the project; for instance use blue folders for one project and green folders for another. This has helped me to at least narrow down the folders that I have to search in for information.


Robin has a great idea using different colored folders. I would add to that a Project name whether filing physically, in a computer file folder or e-mail. Everything associated with that project should be easier to find.

Hi Donna,
I deal with a lot of different projects that are on the go at the same time. When I set up a file I log it into Excel with as much discription as possible, under the name of the file. We also log in all the important paper that comes into the office (i.e. who we gave it to and what file it when into). Hope this helps.

It sounds like you first need to develop a consistent system for categorizing files. Decide if you want to file by project, by vendor, by client, etc. (How you decide to categorize depends on the type of business you have.)

I am in charge of all of our corporate contract files and have chosen to file all paperwork first by vendor name, then to subcategorize by project or other category as needed. This has really helped everyone to be able to locate files more easily, because everyone knows that all contracts are filed by vendor. They don't have to guess how things were filed because they're all categorized the same way.

Hi Donna,

Sounds like you have already gotten a lot of good help. I have also found a combination of color-coding and filing by category to be quite helpful. For example, anything dealing with money is red (attn: hot files, move quickly); correspondence is green (ongoing, alive); periodicals are blue (blah, blah); general information and forms are yellow (bright ideas). This allows me to instantly see if something is filed in the wrong place and it cuts down the amount of space I have to scan through to find the folder I need.

You may also want to look at categorizing by PERSON (people you or your staff have met/worked with, or need to meet or follow-up with -- i.e., sales leads/contacts, HR/personnel information); PLACE (places where you or staff have been, are now, or need to go -- i.e., travel, training, conferences), or THING (things you or staff have done, are doing/working on, or need to do -- i.e., projects).

Hello Donna,
I see a lot of really great ideas above. First of all, I think that the color coding is a great idea. As stated, you can see immediately if something is misfiled. Secondly, I suggest that you copy documents that pertain to each other and file them in the appropriate folders. I hope this suggestion helps. Good luck!


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