File cabinet

My organization systems

This page is part of a series on journaling.


David Allan suggère d’adopter un simple système alphabétique, mais moi je trouve ça insuffisant.

J’ai toujours trouvé que les techniques de filières rotatives de FreedomFiler™ étaient géniales. J’ai créé mes étiquettes il y a plus de 10 ans et ça fonctionne toujours.


For filing paper documents, I have three main filing systems.

There is an alphabetical folder box, a legal two drawer filing cabinet, and holding sleeves for project material.

Alphabetical folder box

This is the filing system recommended by David Allen. It’s very simple and it’s the system I use for any reference I wish to keep, and which doesn’t belong to a known category with a known retention period.

Ajouter une photo de ma boîte de chemises, et une de mon classeur en bambou.

Filing cabinet

My filing cabinet is where I store documents that I need to hold on to for several months or years. Ten years ago, I watched the FreedomFiler Filing 101 Demos and read the Setting up a Filing System 101 filing system explanation. I found the methods and classification systems very smart, I adopted some of them and crafted my own color-coded labels.


I have a US legal format two drawer metal filing cabinet.

Green section — 24 months archive

It’s a 24 months rotating archive. There is a sequence of 12 months identified for odd years, and 12 months for even years. A cursor identifies the current month.

The 24 months rotating archive.
The 24 months rotating archive.


  • Invoices
  • Statements
  • Receipts
  • Written notes
  • Correspondence

Blue section — Even/odd years

The two blue folders at the front of the green section is the even/odd year tax documents catch-all. All year long, and in particular in february, march and april, I collect income declaration and fiscal documents in the even or odd year folder according to the tax year they belong to. When the tax season comes, I don’t have to chase my documents, they are all in one place. A cursor indicates whether the current tax year is odd or even.

The even/odd year tax documents catch-all.
The even/odd year tax documents catch-all.

Blue section — 10 years archive

It’s a 10 years rotating archive. Labels are numbered 0 to 9 for the unit digit of the year. A cursor identifies the current year.


  • Tax forms and documents
  • Bank and credit card statements

Orange section — Latest

This section is for documents that have to be kept for the lifetime of a possession or relationship (including commercial contractual agreements, subscriptions, etc.).

  • Account creation contracts.
  • Insurance contracts.
  • Lease.

When there is a new version of a document, the old version is moved to the green (23 months) or blue (10 years) section, and the new document is filed in the folder in the orange section.

Alexandre de Verteuil
Alexandre de Verteuil
Senior Solutions Architect

I teach people how to see the matrix metrics.
Monkeys and sunsets make me happy.