Colored Filing Folders Changed My System

I probably don’t need to tell you that I really like the colored filing folders that are out there!  Most any color, anywhere makes me happy.   On my never ending quest to simplify my world, it was a very happy day for me when I decided to splurge and add some color to my files! And they are readily available at your local office supply store.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAIt wasn’t enough for me just to add color, I had to somehow work it into a system to make finding my files easier.

 It seemed liked a pretty good plan to me at first to use the colors by category, but I was unhappy with my new system- pretty fast.  You can just imagine it… green for banking and money related things, blue for the water bills and plumbing issues, etc.  The problem was, there were plenty of problems with my system! 

First up, there were not enough colors to separate things neatly into categories… which is originally what I thought I wanted to do.  Seems there were only about 5 or so colors in the average variety pack.  Plus my first attempt was, well… boring. Starting with the obvious by using green for money or banking related files.   I ended up with a bunch of green folders in my banking section and, although I could quickly spot the section easily, looking for an individually file was visually was not that much different than looking though a group of manila folders. Something that started out to make me happy brought me right back to where I started. Then I also found that a few colors seemed to not be so easy to always find, like orange and maroon.  What was I to do?

So let me tell you what works for me and still seems to visually simplify the finding of the proper filing folders… fast!    

Stay with the Logo:  There are certain times when I use a particular a color on purpose.  Like our son’s college color is red, so I do try and use red for his college stuff and stagger the tab cuts for easy readying of the folder names.  Or in the utilities section, I did use a green folder on purpose for our phone company folder because their current log is green. 

People Colors: I often stay with a color by person for VIP things or when practical.  So while I keep all our banking folders in a banking section, my one son’s is blue, the other son’s is green, etc., and I go to grab the folder real quick, the color helps to reduce the hunt time.  Assignment of color by person is not a must, it just adds to it for me because I am a very visual person and because we also color code our calendar.   It ties the two family systems together and It just makes it easier for me and sometimes even easier for others! 

A Few Other Tips for your Filing Folder Tips

  • For titles on each filing folder, I have taken to using a black sharpie pen –or a silver sharpie on a dark color like purple or my special maroon stash – and writing really BIG or using really big letters on a printed label for easier identification.  My eye sight has also brought me to the world of trifocals and I can’t always read the writing from a distance or at a certain angle!
  • If I know I will have a series of folders over a set number of years, I will make all the files that I forecast I will need all at once, staggering the tab placement.  It is a great feeling to need a new folder and find that you have it done and ready to go!
  • On certain colors, it you turn the folder inside out you sometime end up with a different shade, so that can add to the color diversity.
  • I prefer the 1/3 cut size folders myself, and for the left or right position, flipping the file folder inside out also gives you the other position… if you happen to need more of one than the other for any reason.  The other 1/5 cut is too small for my large letter labeling.

Hate to admit it, but a filing system is only as good as the main filer!  Keeping things neat does come in handy and being able to find what you need, quickly, is a great feeling.  It especially helps if you share files or sometimes have to send a scout out to retrieve information. The most important thing is to find a system that works for you!

Do you have a favorite filing folder story…?  Maybe a tip or trick that works really well for you?  Please share it in the comments, message me or visit my Work with Me page!

Doing more that just wishing you success… Helping you on your journey!  ~Dawn

Dawn is an online marketing consultant, specializing in attraction marketing techniques for affiliates and business owners. She believes in simplifying effective marketing efforts and mentors business owners to make productive use of their valuable time.
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Colored Filing Folders Changed My System — 10 Comments

  1. Great tips Dawn. I am a very visual person and I like the notion of being able to quickly identify topics by color. I will definitely take a closer look at this strategy. Good timing since it’s year end and – like many others – I’m in the process of closing out this year and setting up for the 2014. Thanks!

  2. Hi Dawn,
    Wonderful to be here visiting your blog!I agree with you – having a system to keep track of everything is indeed a time saver. Makes it much easier to find things. Great tips and I appreciate you sharing them

  3. Hi Dawn, I first come across different coloured folders when I was at University doing research. We were able to take whatever we wanted if it was going to help our research. So, I used to print out papers and put different categories of papers in different coloured (that’s how we spell it:-) folders. Only thing was, I love yellow so much, I always wanted to use that one and the orange ones are nice too! They’re so much nicer than that manilla colour they had for so many years!

    • I try and make it a clever color choice, like purple for purchasing and green for income or money/banking. Then I was ending up with all one color in a section so it was not that different from all manilla. Ha! I have to be more free!!

  4. I love colors and color coding. My calendar is color coded. My files, though, are mostly digital now. I have some paper files and I use colored file folders, but they aren’t coded in any particular way. I get all excited reading about cool office supplies, though :). Love it.
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    • It seems silly, but a little color makes me happy and certainly reduces the search time if I am looking for something. Happy to connect with someone who shares my love for color!

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