Organized Hanging Files

Nov 14

When I have a spare moment, I hide away in the office organizing photos, working on a project or writing draft posts for the blog. This week in my free time I’ve been tackling paper and noticed my hanging files needed a little update. I have a desk with a built-in hanging-file system. So first thing I did was thoroughly go through the entire drawer. As I went through the drawer, I had paper and a pencil nearby. During the purge, I kept a running list of file folder names I’d need. I was pretty brutal about the papers to keep / toss. It’s so easy to get suckered into what I’d like to keep vs. what I need to keep.
What I was left with was…
1. A list of main sections and
2. A list of the folders to be contained under those main headings.
Once everything was sorted and back into the drawer, here is where I left off…
So blah!
Time to add pretty color and organization!
Supplies needed to beautify the hanging files…
hanging file folders + their plastic tabs
I began by adding a piece of solid washi tape to the hanging file folder tabs…

Then added the main section headings on a clear label…


Next I added a piece of colorful washi tape to each manilla folder and added the folder name to each…

Off to work from there…with some great music in the background…

Until completed…


Once the drawer was complete, I took a look at the drawer above it. Wasn’t planning to do anything major…just add the colorful section tabs…

But the thought of what I could do with all of this empty space…

Half the drawer was being used as a storage spot for our extra supply of hanging files. I certainly don’t need the extra hanging files. Think i’ll donate them to church or school.

Then I remembered the papers I had been sorting through during the paper re-organization process…

Didn’t you know empty diaper boxes make a great sorting tool?

I’ll share my sorting process when I share the final result in here. But these 3 topics were taking up quite a bit of room….taxes, financials, and house papers…

The financials include life insurance policies, family trust paperwork, and other financial stuff. Not month to month bills. The house papers include closing documents, inspection documents, re-fi paperwork, and more. The taxes are obvious…and there are 6-7 years worth.

Originally I planned to make my own org solution to contain these, but with the drawer free – why not?! So I added some labels…

And folders to break up the tax years…

Can not begin to explain how happy I am to have this behind me! Kinda like getting all those cords organized a few weeks ago. 🙂 Having my sections divided out this way is going to make day to day life super efficient.
* How long did it take to label all of the file folders? – The labeling took longer than the purge. The labeling took about 60 – 90 minutes. I did it one morning while my daughter was in pre-school. As mentioned, I put on some good music and went to my happy place to get it knocked out.
* What are your main section headings?
Top drawer = taxes, house papers, family trust, and additional random projects I’m working on (photography tips/papers, recipe tear-outs I’ve had in this drawer for a while – this is where I pull recipes from when I want to try something new, a home video project I’m working on, and inspiring images from magazines.
Bottom drawer = home, kids, financial, and health.

comments +

  1. Great job. Paper and me don't mix. I create big piles of the stuff and am always interested how others tackle it. I've moved on to binders and they seem to be working for me…I just need to put the paper in them 🙂

  2. Gates 8105 says:

    Where is the Washi tape in Target? I can never find it!

  3. Tram Le says:

    Funny thing, I was working on my filing system today too! Although yours is much more colorful =) Will have to try that next time!

  4. Michaela says:

    This is excellent! I have a folder system for filing, since I'm only young and don't have that much paperwork, but I'm starting to think I might need to expand it into a filing cabinet. I love how great that washi tape looks.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. I'm with you, I get the chills about super organized stuff too, lol. This is a really beautiful set up! I love the idea of Washi tape but haven't gotten my hands on any yet. I'm still building my little organization stash so hopefully I can pick some up soon. Great post!

    • thank you! i think it's pretty too – nice to look at as opposed to the usual boring manilla brown color and green hanging files. 🙂


      thank you so much for the sweet comment,
      sam 🙂

  6. i need to get my hands on a labeler and washi tape,,defo

  7. Lisa says:

    Wow!! What a little washi tape can do?! Love this idea!!

  8. Amanda says:

    I have been trying to get to this same project for about two months now! I don't have the washi tape, but the label maker is a great tool in our home and gets used a lot! After seeing yours, I am really excited to tackle this project in the near future!

  9. lilrunner says:

    I need to get my files organized. Just picked up the tape. I don't have a label maker. Is it worth it and is it easy to use?

  10. Laura says:

    Fantastic idea- and it looks great, too!

  11. The washi tape looks fantastic. Great job.

  12. Great work with the organizing and it looks pretty too! May I know where you found the hanging file box?

  13. Oh. My. Goodness! The washi tape made such a mundane task of organizing files look like so much fun! And such a happy surprise when you have to file something away. Love how it turned out!


  14. Carol M says:

    Just getting ready to revamp my household files. Wanted to use washi tape, clear label tape,new files etc but couldn't come up with a "system". Your main categories with subcategories behind is genius! Thanks so much for that. Supplies ordered and on the way. Thanks to you I have a plan. Also have your pantry redo saved in springpad for future ref. Good luck with the move, will be following 🙂

  15. […] hanging files are in the 2 drawers on the far left… […]

  16. Petra says:

    It’s been a few years — how have these labels held up? Anytime I’ve used regular file folder labels, they tend to fall off after a few years (or months even), when the label glue dries up. I think this looks so pretty and you’re so creative for doing it this way, but I don’t want to spend all that time for it just to fall off!

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