Separating important documents from paper clutter can be a time-consuming business. Therefore, establishing an effective filing system can save a significant amount of time and stress in the long run.

The Basics

Most offices need these key tools and supplies to streamline paperwork, keeping clutter to a minimum:
  • A filing cabinet or file box with hanging file folders
  • A desktop file folder
  • Files
  • A shredder.
  • A wastepaper basket
Furniture At Work’s innovative office storage solutions include stylish filing cabinets, Bisley multidrawers, cupboards, shelving and document boxes, enabling clients to effectively organise their office space and eliminate clutter.

The Five Key Steps to Establishing an Effective Filing System

It is important to set aside enough time to organise important documents, as it is not a process that should be rushed.

Gather Documents Together

Gathering documents into one spot facilitates easier sorting, recycling and shredding. Keeping everything on hand helps maintain momentum and focus, promoting meticulousness. Within a home environment, there are several zones where documents tend to accumulate aside from obvious areas like desk space and mail piles. These include the kitchen, since this is often the first room people head to when they arrive home. The lounge is also a prime spot where papers often pile up. Sorting paperwork effectively requires adequate space. The kitchen table is an ideal spot, although a guestroom bed or floor space could work too. Where there is a lot of paperwork, it may be beneficial to use bins or cardboard boxes to prevent paper piles toppling over. It is important to label boxes and files clearly; placing important documents in the recycling bin could prove to be an expensive mistake.

Categorise Documents

In the home office, household documents can generally be divided into six categories: Home and property records, including mortgage receipts, property deeds, contents and building insurance policies, etc. Financial records, e.g. tax returns, bank statements, and credit card statements. Car records, including insurance policies, MOT documentation, repair receipts, etc. Personal records, e.g. birth and marriage certificates, wills, passports and funeral plans Health records, including paperwork relating to medical insurance, prescription receipts etc. Any pet insurance plans could also be included under this category. Electronics records, collating paperwork relating to mobile devices and hardware such as laptops and computers including warranties and receipts, as well as broadband and phone bills.


It should start to become obvious which documents can be discarded at this point, with superfluous paperwork shredded or placed in the wastepaper basket depending on whether it contains personal information. Junk mail, magazines, old envelopes: it is easy to accumulate detritus. At this point, it can all be thrown away.

Create an ‘Action’ File

Creating an action file for papers that need to be acted upon, such as bills and appointment reminders, ensures that important events are not overlooked. Choosing a brightly coloured folder will help it stand out.

Ongoing Maintenance

Once papers are organised, it is important to keep them that way. It is surprisingly easy to slide back into chaos again. Investing a little time to file documents in the appropriate section can save time in the long run, avoiding the need to scour homes or offices in search of important documents. Furniture At Work’s stylish range of office furniture, storage and supplies enables clients to cut out the clutter. Whether it’s at school, work or in the home office, Furniture At Work’s innovative products help clients easily and effectively organise their paperwork.
Claire Preece