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Perfect File Cabinet Organization in 4 Simple Steps

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Office Depot sponsored this post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Discover how easy it is to have a perfectly organized filing system with these simple file cabinet organization tricks!

Welcome to our third post in a five-post series about organizing the she shed into a functional small business office! I’m so excited to be teaming up with Office Depot for another step in this organization process.

If you’re just joining us, be sure to check out the first two posts where we organized my printer situation and organized my time.

This month’s focus? Organizing my filing system!

Ok, let’s be real, before this week I didn’t really have a “system” for filing… But now that I do, I’m loving it!


This project has been on my to-do list since we first converted the shed into my office last fall.

We built my desk by installing a pre-built, laminate counter top on a thrifted file cabinet (that we painted white) with the intention of me using the filing cabinet for storing and organizing my paperwork.

But, honestly, the cabinet wasn’t being used for filing up until now at all! It was a temporary storage unit until this week.

Here’s how it looked before we started in on the file cabinet organization project:

Yep, lots of junk stashed out of sight in a typical Rachel fashion. ?

I knew this process would eventually be an important part of my she-shed organization process because I prefer hard copies of most items (even as a blogger I just can’t get myself to migrate to the all-digital world…) and I’ve never been very good about organizing my paperwork.

I had lots of stacks of papers – all mostly grouped by type or commitment, but nothing was easy to find. Now, I can quickly find my notes or documentation from just about any area of my commitments in the blink of the eye!

Ok, I’m sure you’re dying to know what I’ve done here and what my tricks for how to organize a filing cabinet are, so let’s get to it!


The first thing I did to organize my file cabinet was remove everything from the drawers.

Chris actually modified my top drawer for me so I could have a foot of drawer space next to the hanging file folder section since these are my only desk drawers.


Then, I ordered some grey hanging file folders and tabbed file folders online from Office Depot.

I’m usually the type of person that prefers to shop in store so I can have my items instantly, but thanks to Office Depot and OfficeMax’s super convenient BOPIS (Buy Online Pick-up In Store) service I was able to order all the materials I needed for this filing cabinet overhaul online and pick them up from the store that same afternoon!

You know how I am, I like to spontaneously start a project – so the BOPIS service is perfect for me! I can peruse all of their products online (at home, without the kids running wild through the store) and within an hour of submitting my order my items are ready to pick up!

They even have a handy pick-up shelf so you don’t have to wait in line to get your order. #WINNING.

If you’ve never tried this BOPIS option, you’ve got to try it!

I’m sure it’ll be a lifesaver for me in the future when I need something last minute and don’t have time to wait in line at the store… ?

I grabbed my bag when I was already out and about running errands and then brought it home to get started on organizing my file cabinet.


First, I placed all of my hanging file folders in the top drawer.

Then, I added labels for the major areas of commitment in my life that I may need to file documents for: Blog/Business, Church, and Board (of Directors).


Then, I thought about which types of documents I may need to file for each of these areas and labeled tabbed file folders with them before placing them in the hanging folders.

For example, for the business, I created a few folders for finances – one for current month expenses, one for YTD recons, one for blank expense tracker sheets, and so on.

Like I mentioned, since this is my only desk drawer, I also organized the filing drawer with items that I didn’t want sitting out on my desk.

This included the extra tabbed file folders (the box of 150 is way too many for me!) as well as two small baskets and notebooks.

In the green basket I placed my snacks and thank-you cards.

And in the blue basket I placed my headphones, white-out and sticky notes. Did you see this post where I share how I use all these sticky notes to keep my life in order?!

I also decided to set my extra legal pads for notes in the middle of this section. My mom got me this fun “Daily Planner” and it’s been really effective for keeping my days organized!

In addition to the filing cabinet drawer that includes all of my filed away documentation, I also have two separate filing spots out on my desk for items that are pending or in the works.

I think the best way to organize a file cabinet is by long-term archives being housed in the cabinet and pending documents being stored out in sight.

That way they’re out and on my mind to follow up with!

The clear file holder on top of my desk keeps my invoices that need entering into the bookkeeping software (which I process once a week) and the paperwork for my current consulting clients.

The white file folder hanging on my wall holds my goal sheets and tracking paperwork.

I love having a place to file away all of my documents when I’m done working with them!

So, what do you think of our organized file cabinet made possible by the amazing convenience of Office Depot’s Buy Online, Pick Up In Store services?!

I love how it looks all closed up and stored away… ?

I hope these simple file cabinet organization tips help you put together a fabulous file cabinet organization system! As always, let me know if you have any questions.


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Office Depot sponsored this post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

4 thoughts on “Perfect File Cabinet Organization in 4 Simple Steps”

  1. You’re right, that is a great idea, and something technology is advancing us towards. This post was written for people that are required to have hard copies of things and are looking for ways to organize them. 🙂

  2. I think you should use mobile forms where you can store all your records and create templates. It is much more convenient and your information will not be lost. If you already have existing documents, you can recreate your old paper documents.

  3. That’s a good idea to group similar types of paperwork together with labeled folder tabs and to keep some extra folders in the back. I am starting my own bookkeeping business this year, and I want to stay as organized as possible. I will definitely keep these tips in mind while shopping for supplies and organizing my workspace.

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