You’ve heard the saying that you can never be too rich or too thin? Well, I’m not so sure about that, but I do know that being too organized can sometimes lead to mayhem.


Sean is a perfect example of an overly organized person. He has a system for everything and follows it religiously. But when life throws him a curve ball, things go haywire. When I first walked into his office, I thought I was in the wrong place because everything looked so neat.


Then I opened up the filing cabinets and got dizzy looking at his comprehensive filing system. Even I couldn’t figure it out. To overhaul any complicated filing system, follow these steps:


  • Start with three labelled boxes for recycling, shredding and storing old financial files. Place sorted items in the appropriate box.

  • w Weed out file folders that are empty, irrelevant or that have had no activity in the past year.

  • Tax records must be kept for seven years, but only put the current year’s in the cabinets, storing the rest in a banker’s box.

  • Pull and alphabetically group all personal and household files. Use a distinct file folder colour for each grouping.

  • Try to use each drawer for a specific category. The top drawer was designated for frequently-used files such as personal and household ones. The second drawer was where we put financial files. The bottom filing drawer was less accessible, meaning it was perfect for items such as keepsakes.

  • Clearly label the front of the filing drawers with a description of the general contents.

  • For everyday maintenance, use a vertical or horizontal divider for all incoming items. Group items into these foolproof categories: To File, To Read, To Do, and Bills To Pay.

Brenda Borenstein is your professional organizing guru. Look for her column every second Thursday. For more tips and ideas, visit Brenda has organized hundreds of homes and says, “There is nothing I haven’t seen and nothing that can’t be overcome.”