jitterbug

My Noguchi filing system

Everyone needs a good filing system. It is essential to keep important documents and retrieve them easily when needed. Some people have managed to go totally paperless and scan every document in electronic form. Hats off to them because they solved a big problem. A problem I have been struggling with for a long time.

For various reasons I did not have the opportunity to put in place a full paperless system for my documents. Starting a project like this, having a pile of documents spanning over many years, needs time and determination.

Additionally, due to limitations of space in my home desk, I could never had one of those fantastic large drawers which you can fill with hanged manilla folders. Instead I have been using various methods which have never been effective enough.

Then one day I stumbled upon the Noguchi system, which could be implemented with large envelopes stacked vertically on any shelf. I thought using inexpensive envelopes was a great idea and decided to give it a try.

The Noguchi method

The system was really easy to try out, since besides the envelopes, scissors and a thin line marker I didn’t need any additional gear to set it up.

I started out by setting up the first envelope. I only needed to cut the top right under the opening and write the subject and year of the contents on the side. I slipped in the documents to be filed and that was all. In about an hour, I had filed a large portion of my documents indexed by subject on my shelf. I have also added a bookend on the last folder to keep the whole bunch in place.

The only process I’ve decided not to follow, was putting a folder on the right side after I have used it. The idea was smart, because all the frequently used envelopes would be on the one side so it would be easier to retrieve. I thought I would just stick to the old good alphabetic order.

Later I added a small customization, adding small colored stickers to specific envelopes I had to use frequently.

Problem solved.

For more information on the system: [Unclutterer post](http://(https://unclutterer.com/2014/06/03/the-noguchi-filing-system)

#paper