Home Office: Filing Organization

I’m excited to be kicking off my home office organization series on OLJ with a video showcasing my filing system.  Although I’m currently working through cleaning up and reorganizing my entire office, my filing system needed the least amount of work.  I’ve been using this filing organization since we moved into our home in 2007.  I even had a similar system for the first two years of my marriage (2005-2007), which was the start of my official status as home manager.  I’ve easily been able to adapt my filing system over the years to accomodate our growing needs.  I thought I’d share some of the organizational tools I use for filing here.

Pottery Barn Bedford Lateral File Cabinet (photo source)

Pottery Barn Bedford Lateral File Cabinet (photo source)

I have several pieces from the Pottery Barn Bedford Home Office set, all in antique white.  Not only are these beautiful, well made pieces of furniture, but they suit my organizational and functional office needs well.  I use the Bedford Lateral File Cabinet to house the bulk of our files.  I keep current files (from the last calendar year and the current one) in the upper drawer.  I keep our back files in the lower drawer.  This includes about six years backlog of regular bills and statements as well as documents I want to hold onto indefinitely.


Smead Color Hanging Folders (photo source) | Smead 2″ Box-Bottom Hanging Folders (photo source) | Smead Color File Folder (photo source) | Black 13-Pocket Accordian Recepit Filed (photo source)

I use similar jewel-toned hanging file folders from Office Depot as the Smead ones pictured above.  I designate each of the five colors to a different category: purple for household utilities, teal for credit cards, subscriptions, & memberships, blue for finances and taxes, maroon for personal things such as health, school, and travel, and grey for receipts and brochures.  I use the color coordinating non-hanging file folders as additional organizers for my travel file as well as many of my back files.  The 2″ Box-Bottom file folders work great in that bottom drawer to organize larger bunches of papers.  I actually have all three of these styles of file folders on hand in my closet for easy filing updates at any time.  The only purchase I made in my filing system cleanup was a 13-Pocket Accordion Recept File, which I purchased from the Container Store during their Work Smart Office Sale (ends today, March 24!).  I use this handy accordion file to corral our personal accessories receipts that I like to keep indefinitely.  This includes anything from our golf clubs and guitars to my high end purses and jewelry.  I think it’s important to keep those receipts on hand for insurance reasons and this accordion file helps keep small pieces of paper tucked away safely and in an orderly fashion.

Brother PT1290 Home & office Labeler (photo source)

Brother PT-1290 Home & Office Labeler (photo source)

I would be remiss if I did not mention by label maker.  I actually have one on each level of my house, since I use them so frequently.  The one I keep on the second floor in my office is the Brother PT-1290 labeler.  I used clear 9 mm labels for the front of the cabinet and the regular black on white tape in the 9mm size for all of my folders.  I love the P-Touch line by Brother and would definitely recommend it to anyone in the market for a good quality labeler.  A word of warning – once you get a labeler, you’ll be labeling everything in sight!

I go over my entire filing system in detail in the video (shown below) if you’re interested in a closer look.  Check back soon for the next video in my home office organization series: my desk!

*I am not affiliated with any of the brands mentioned in the video or this blog post.  All opinions are my own.*


13 thoughts on “Home Office: Filing Organization”

  1. Have you ever considered a side career in organizing people’s homes for them? I would absolutely hire you. I use all of your videos to try and improve my organization, so thank you for sharing!

    1. I get asked that a lot! I’m not considering it right now, but I wouldn’t rule it out as a future possibility!

      1. Such a great idea Katie! I would sooooo hire you to come organize my room and bathroom Jen! But, live in PA. Might be a bit far. 🙁

  2. When I think of ideas or tips on organization, I think of you. I know that you have Wennie and I am getting a dog myself. My little girl’s name is Noon. I have an area of my house that I don’t want to restrict her but there are tons of cable cords and wires. I am concerned about an area where there are tons of cables and wires that I don’t want her to get into and I don’t know what to do and block or hide them. Any tips or ideas?

    1. Has your dog shown any interest in cords and cables before? Winnie pays no mind to them so I don’t worry so much about that. You might also consider using cable ties to bunch cords and adhesive hooks to corral them close to the floor boards to keep them out of the way.

      1. Why not enclose cables in a flexible plastic cover? Out of sight, looks so much neater, and protects your cables and cords…

  3. I love how your system is color coded. I know you are a keeper of EVERYTHING, which I’m not dissing at all, but do you find there is anything that you don’t feel the need to keep? (I know this is coming out kind of snotty and it’s not meant that way at all…) I watched your video with a bit of a giggle when you seemed to defend you system because I’m the total opposite of you, I throw everything away. There have been times I have been burnt by this and could definitely learn a thing about saving stuff. I love the difference in people though, I find it so interesting, that you find comfort in having everything readily available and I get get anxious with all that stuff around. Not good or bad, just cool how we all work, you know? 🙂

  4. Hi Jen, I love your organizing videos! You remind me of Martha Stewart (who is one of my favorite all time people). Like Martha, if there is a proper way to do something you do it the way it is meant to be done! Great job. I hope you and your family enjoy a wonderful Easter together!

    xoxo Michelle. thebashfulnest.blogspot.com

  5. Hi Jen! I love your home office series, you and I are pretty similar when I comes to organizational needs. I was wondering if you had any tips for filing on-the-go. I am a college student so I live at home in the summer and at school for the rest of the year. Trying to move a file cabinet is not an easy job! I have working with many different binders at the moment but would love to hear any ideas you have in regards to keep an organized file system when you move often. Thanks so much 🙂

    1. I always brought the papers I wanted to save home at the end of each semester where I kept plastic filing tubs organized by year.

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