I’ve set up and organized a few offices lately so I feel like I’ve been thinking a lot about the various supplies necessary to get best filing system set up in your home office. The goal that I’ve been helping people achieve is having an office where it is easy to find papers, supplies like staplers and scissors, and having a pleasant and calm space to work. Now your choice of folders and hanging files may not seem consequential but God is in the details and you don’t want to have to replace all of the hard work you just implemented in your filing system. I want to share with you my favorite folders but want to tell you that I only recommend products that I’ve used myself or with clients and they’ve passed my scrutiny. The opinions expressed here are my own and haven’t been supplemented.
SMEAD has the best folders and hanging files and I use & recommend them all the time. They are available in a lot of great colors which is more important than a lot people realize. It’s important that your files look good and keep your papers in order. You can buy the ones with movable or stationary tabs–that’s up to you. I personally think it’s easier seeing everything lined up on the left side but that can be challenging if you have a lot of files. I prefer the hanging files with the clear tabs and white paper so you can print custom labels and replace as necessary.
Office Max also has a store brand that is just as sturdy and colorful as SMEAD. They can be a few cents less than SMEAD but I think they are equally effective.
What you have to look out for is the folders and hanging files made from recycled paper. I hate to say it but they are flimsy and just don’t last as long. Typically they are dark green so they are easy to spot. Remember your time is valuable so saving money today by buying something cheaper will cost you in time and having to replace in the future.
You still want to invest in good folders, too, even though the hanging files are doing the most work. As you move files around you’ll definitely appreciate something that lasts. I’ve seen really pretty folders at various art supply stores and some pretty solids at The Container Store. Big box office supply stores like Office Depot/Max and Staples also have some attractive solid options. Just make sure they are sturdy.
Do you need to color code folders based on category or type? For home offices and personal use, my vote is “no” even though I love colors. It’s too costly and complicated to keep a steady supply of differently colored folders. Usually the color you need, you won’t have and then you’ll have to buy more than is necessary. Pick a favorite color and stick with it.
I’d love to hear your questions about folders and filing systems! How is your office working for you?