How to organize old files

It’s not news that paper files are on their way out. But offices that have been around for even a couple of years probably have a backlog of paperwork shoved into filing cabinets. Much older offices have box after box of old files, all of which is being kept for good reason. But how can you organize these so they’re easier to find and quicker to navigate through?  

  1. Digitize. The most obvious choice in 2021 is to digitize files if possible. This requires a great deal of manual labor and a server and backup system that are sure to secure the information. But once its done, having digital files will make work much easier. 
  2. Color Code. Digitizing isn’t always possible, so a quick way to organize old files is to color code. Divide up the different categories needed and organize them by color. This will be an important first step on your journey to making files easier to navigate. You can color code with tabs, different color folders, or other means that help your files stand out. (And let’s face it…it’ll be kind of fun!) 
  3. Follow an expiration date. Many offices have files that go back a long time that they’ll never need again. For legal reasons, many files have a statute of limitations that runs out after a certain number of years. Assess how long your office actually needs to keep files, and then adhere to those expiration dates by having periodic shredding parties!