Archiving may look simple and rather a boring task to be done. We have all ben there, stressed out in search for that single important document that seems to be devoured into the underworld. But what do we do after eventually found it? Meh, just an accident, it won’t be repeated. Unfortunately most of the times, it did get repeated.
So any idea on how to improve your archiving skill? Nope? You’ve come to the right page. Let us help you with some tricks that can brighten your archive, and your life, probably. Let’s get it started by preparing some necessary tools like scissors or paper cutter, puncher, paper clip, stapler, bright coloured card stocks/papers, binders or file holders, and also a glass of nice iced lemonade for later.
The idea is to make your document as safe and good looking as possible. Don’t pick your favourite colour this time or you might end up in hating that colour because archives are sometimes indeed associated with bad emotions. Try bright orange or green colour, they have a relaxing effect that are scientifically proven. Furthermore, you can improve your archive by adding some highlights to any copy of important things (don’t highlight any original document unless it can be easily reproduced). Finally, choose a binder or file holder that have a calm colour and good protective features such as sturdy enough, or waterproof. Also, please remember to pick the most environmentally friendly options available, mother earth needs us!
Step1: Spare some budget! Although it seems to be simple, it is actually one of the most important things in business and legal fields. Set aside some amount of money to buy an adequate quality products that can help you order things faster and better. With quality products, both the process and the end result will make you less stressed out and might even put a smile in your face.
Step 2: Separate them by type, then by date or timeline (e.g. months, quarters, years), from the oldest at the back, to the newest on top. This will make it much easier to be read, navigated, and added. If it still turns out to be too thick to group them by date, add more specific criteria for the document type. The goal is to make a medium sized folder which can be explored easily yet completely.
Step 3: Take your time to check and write a note of what’s missing. It’s far better to be prepared while you don’t urgently need it than got your nerve pumped up by the deadlines. This might take plenty of your time but will surely be very useful for your peace of mind later.
Step 4: Place card stocks between every sections of periods. Usually, 8 cm x 6 cm is enough for a folio binder. Don’t make it too large or small, around 1/3 of your document size is usually enough. Large separators will make the archive thicker quickly and make it harder to navigate, since you’ll be stopped every once in a while when you’re drifting through the documents. However, too small means hard to be found, almost equally if not more, annoying than too large.
Step 5: Staple related files together but remove any unnecessary staples. Staples get rusty, and the colour will permanently stick to your documents, also it will make documents thicker and may damage papers when they are being flipped, so use less staples. Another trick is to position the staple at the left upper but not at the corner of the document. This will make the document steady enough but minimising frictions and making the whole documents thinner if positioned correctly.
Step 6: Cut a card stock into a small rectangle to cover your paper clipper is you need to use it. This will prevent the paper clip from scratching or leaving a crumple on your document paper, and it also looks better! Navigate easier by pinning it colourfully.
Step 7: Once you’re ready, place them into the binder or file holders. Place them afar from direct sunlights and avoid humid places. If possible, place them unstacked, separated by cupboard shelves or book separators. Name them if you must, use a printed paper instead of writing directly to your binder, and stick them using transparent tapes. This will make it last longer and looks much tidier.
Step 8: Review your archives every year. Get rid of unnecessary or irrelevant documents. Times change, so might you. Nevertheless, try to minimise your offline archive amount as low as possible. Use it for important documents only, otherwise, use online method instead. The basic rule of thumb is to set a maximum period of files that you want to keep, unless it is an emotionally related files (yet eventually it is always better to let go, as what Buddha said!). Try considering online or digital archive too, it does have its own numerous advantages than the physical ones for sure. Find out more about it here.
There, all set up and I guess you’re sweating up a bit now. Remember that iced lemonade we prepare earlier? Now is the perfect time to drink it. Enjoy your tidy room, peace of mind, and the lemonade of course!