Filing cabinets – organising & decluttering

I read once that you only put pieces of paper in a filing cabinet if you never want to read the information on them again.

As evidence may I present my HSC Modern History notes.


Pages and pages of neat notes on Weimar Germany, World War One and Twentieth Century China. Never read since I sat my HSC exams in 198…mumble, mumble.

So why have they been moved through three different filing cabinets, and five houses and a couple of storage cubicles?

Because once placed in a hanging file, there they live, undisturbed for many, many years.

(And if the response of my husband is any guide, once they pass the test of time, they become valuable in their own right. “Keep them,” he says. “It’s nice to know you have them.” And the logic of that is that he never knew I had these notes. OK, there is no logic. But his sentimental attachment to things we have had for years, even if they are useless or worthless or forgotten, is an illness.)

So the only way to organise a full filing cabinet is to do a lot of this:


It is difficult to sort over-stuffed drawers filled with over-stuffed hanging files.

No point organising paperwork until there is room. And really most of it becomes useless and space-wasters. (Greater thought before putting something in the filing cabinet would have avoided the problem – actually not just stuffing Manila folders full of multiple copies of things would help too.)

More to do, but I am happy with my afternoon’s efforts.

How did you go attacking your filing cabinet, Jo?


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