Do you Pile or File?

Two Different Ways to Organize Paper

The words pile and file may rhyme, but when it comes to using those words to describe how we manage paper, there are few similarities. Or are there? Is there really a right or wrong way?


We all understand what it means to file papers, but for whatever reason, we never seem to be able to do it. Common culprits we often here about include lack of time, fear of putting things out of sight, and the inability to manage a proper filing system–it just doesn’t make sense.

In order to be successful with the file method of handling paper you must be able, and willing, to rely on your file system to keep things where you need them. The filing system should be setup so it works for you. This can go beyond basic alphabetical organizing. Try using a date system, subject system, or color coded (visual) system for organization. All action items, those to-do items that need your immediate attention, should be organized in a separate location so they are not forgotten. Once action is taken, those papers should be filed or tossed.

As with any system, the key is to maintain and use it. Set a specific time or day of the week and make an appointment with yourself to file. Also, remember you will need to purge periodically to avoid overflow by placing older papers in archive or tossing them.


Do you like to stack and pile papers? Not a problem. But the piles need to be organized by subject or you will have trouble retrieving what you need, when you need it.

Pendaflex’s© Pilesmart Project File Sorter has you covered. This system keeps paper piles separated by dividers and has tabs with a handy index on the front.Smead’s© Project Organizer goes a step further by adding pockets to the dividers to hold papers more securely.

Do you have even larger paper piles? Consider a bookshelf with labeled areas by subject or a tiered-shelf system with labeled baskets to hold papers by category.

Do you have a creative way to file or pile? Post your comments by clicking the review button below.

Jenny Power, Absolutely Organized, LLC