My thoughts on one-size-fits-all filing systems

A while back someone wrote in with a question on the Paper Tiger filing system. My email to her summarized countless conversations with clients I’ve had on the same topic. Though I have one client now who successfully uses one, I rarely see them in-use. In fact, I can’t go a month without finding one of these systems empty or abandoned in a new client’s drawers. This answer isn’t to say they never work, because clearly they do for so many. If you are successfully using one, I don’t want to dissuade you from using it! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I share this though for all of you who DO have an unused system like this in your office. You are not alone! You do not have to wrap a standardized filing system around your dynamic, ever-changing life. You do not have to use it just because you paid good money for it, and you certainly do not have to feel guilty because it hasn’t worked for you!

Dear Pam,

Sorry for my delay in getting back to you on this. My thoughts on Paper Tiger match my thoughts on the Freedom Filer - the clients I work with need a much more customized solution. Many of them have unsuccessfully attempted these two programs. If I had a dime for every time I saw one of these systems 10% used and then eventually neglected! The people who are suffering the most from paper clutter really need hand holding and a lot of personalization if they're ever going to maintain a system after I'm gone. I think the pre-packaged systems are best for self-starters. 

I hope that helps and I hope you're well!


Do you have an unused pre-packaged filing system, or do you successfully use one of these systems? If you use one, is this the only way you file, or have you modified the system? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

119 Circle

Office Organizing Expert Kacy Paide loves to do what most people hate: organize offices & paper.

She works with folks who are desperate for a more functional, more beautiful, more inspiring office. Kacy has been a Professional Organizer since 2001 and has worked with over 500 clients. Call her crazy, but she loves a good mess and wants to fix yours. Learn her time-tested solutions in her eBook, The Inspired Office: Organize Your Life One Paper at a Time. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Kacy is nationally available for consulting & speaking.