Paper systems vary from person to person. We all have a unique paper signature. Where our paper comes from, why we keep it, how we file it, even the color of the folders we choose to use.
There are a few things, however, that can be consistent in any paper system.
First: Have an action system.
An action system is exactly how it sounds. It requires you to work either daily or weekly. This system may be on a desktop, in a drawer or a wall system. You access this system daily with your incoming paper, projects, bills to pay, calendars and so on.
I am always asked about a wall system, so here is an example:
Second: Active files.
These are your current year files. Examples of what you would find here are bank statements, credit card statements, tax receipts, auto records, insurance information, utilities, etc. These files are usually in a drawer(s) or a digital service such as Google Docs, in your home office space.
Third: Archive files.
Archive files come in many shapes and sizes. Very commonly we use filing cabinets, binders or fire safes. Files that should be archived are past tax records, medical records, vital records, legal records, and any other information you need for the duration of your life.