Design Detailing

Design Detailing Experts

The College Files – A Simple System to Organize Your Papers at School

The College Files – A Simple System to Organize Your Papers at School

Many of your college files will be electronic but what do you do with all the paper you receive? A simple set of 10 hanging files categorizes all of your daily papers and the mail you receive.

These 10 files are used for sorting the papers you are currently working on such as current bills you need to pay, phone calls you need to make, papers waiting to be filed away in the filing cabinet, etc. The daily files act as a holding spot for papers that would typically be placed on the desk, in a drawer, or in your car/mobile office.


For this project you’ll need 10 hanging file folders, a file box or file crate, and some manila file folders. You can customize your file system by using colored hanging file folders, interior file folders, and tabs.

Step 1:

Label the 10 hanging file tabs using a label maker or hand writing them:

To Attend, To Do, To File, To Pay, To Read, Classes, Coupons, Projects, Receipts, Waiting for

Step 2:

Label a manila file folder for each class you’re taking and place them inside the Classes hanging file. You may also want to create separate manila file folders for each of your projects.

Step 3:

Put your papers in the files.

The beauty of this simple system is that your papers are standing up, sorted & categorized, and you know where to find what you’re looking for – quickly.

Examples of items that would fit in each category:

To Attend: invitations to events or parties, notices for meetings, tickets
(Write the date and time on your calendar before filing)
To Do: items to purchase, calls to make, letters to mail, emails to answer, papers to write
To File: a holding place for papers until you get the chance to file them
To Pay: current bills, dues, fundraiser or charity donations, IOUs
To Read: articles, newsletters, offers that come in the mail
Classes: a manila file for each class can hold schedules, syllabus, course objectives, research paper ideas, etc.
Coupons: oil change, car washes, Bed, Bath & Beyond, restaurant deals, etc.
Projects: plans for Spring Break, decorating ideas, fitness goals
Receipts: use for matching against your bank statement at the end of the month, items you may return, income tax deductions, tuition and fees statements
Waiting for: items you’ve ordered from the Internet and are waiting to receive, phone calls you’re waiting to hear a response from, items you loaned to others and are awaiting their return

Keep your new file box handy on your desk so you can use it daily and prevent paper pile-ups. This system also works for sorting the papers and mail in a busy household. Just substitute the Classes tab for a Family tab and make a manila file folder for each member of the family.