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How to get excited about filing!

First published on this website in January 2001 and last updated in May 2023

Words: 6400
Size: 242 kB
Categories: Administration , Leadership


The article takes a creative approach to the (dull?) subject of filing and is written for all who work in a church office, but also for Ministers and other Christian workers who are based in a study at home. Once you have read this, filing will never be the same again...!

A misunderstood subject
It has the wrong image – it is the wrong word – it gives the wrong impression.

We file in every room of our home - we just do not call it filing other than in the study or office. In the study filing covers so much more than just a grey, dull, metal cabinet.

Three different types of filing 
After a look at the actions of binning and passing items, three types of filing are distinguished: Holding, Filing itself, Storing. You need to be able to find your items within, respectively, 2 seconds, 20 seconds and 2 minutes. Would you pass this test?

Setting up a filing system
Three principles:

  • Choose the right methods before you consider categories
  • Aim for no more than about eight categories and then sub-divide
  • Choose the most sensible and simple order for finding items

See also Article A37 on this website which covers similar ground.


Here is the link to this item: PDF A1 - Pass or file.pdf

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Author's notes

Here is one comment received on this article: "One of the most profound comments in this article is also one of the most domestic... the idea that filing in the office is no different from filing in the bedroom or kitchen! I have separate cupboards for plates and pans, and the bread maker is kept in the pantry, and the cutlery drawer is not where I keep the toaster. It all sounds so simple when it is put like that, and has really helped me get appropriate filing systems for my office."

This article was last updated in May 2023 with minor amendments to text and design.