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3 Filing Supplies I Hate and Why

3 Filing Supplies I Hate and Why

On the whole, I try to avoid negative posts, but I’ve had it these guys. The organizing solutions we provide, mostly come down to editing and approach, but sometimes they are purely structural. It could partly be that you are just using the wrong supplies. Over the last ten years of organizing, we have found these three culprits used in hundreds of homes, as indispensable organizing conventions. Indispensable they are not.

burn-accordion-file1. Accordion File

It is rare that I have ever found an accordion file that is not one of two things: bloated and bursting at the seams or gently-used and abandoned. Paper has a way of going into an accordion file and never coming out. There is no allowance for circulation. Although it is designed to expand, it is not actually flexible, in terms of organization. Either it offers up pre-established categories, that are under-represented or over-represented, or it is alphabetical. The only thing worse than filing alphabetically, is to alphabetize in inflexible system. Finally, with that stupid flap, the accordion file does not welcome use. Just admit you need good quality file cabinet and burn the accordion file.

paper-clips2. Paper Clips

I’ll allow that are a few occasions where paperclips are unavoidable, but for the most part, they are grossly over-used. I have three objections to them. First, they tend to contribute to fat, misshapen files. Second, paperclips, inside a file folder, tend to snag loose papers being filed, which pushes a corner up and blocks the tab. Finally, a paper clip can kidnap an unrelated file, which then goes missing forever. All of these things may sound fussy, but they all compromise a file’s find-ability. Files should, above all, be findable. Stapling is better, wherever possible.

rubber-bands3. Rubber Bands

You may not think of rubber bands as filing supplies and that would make you a sensible person. However, we have seen them far too often in our client’s files and piles. What’s the harm? Inaction. Rubber bands are bundlers. They are used for bringing things under control, but that’s where the organizing ends. To complete projects, they need to be broken down into tasks. Rubber bands do the opposite, they bundle tasks up into projects. If you’re not getting your taxes settled, first look to see if you have them bundled up with rubber bands. There is never a good reason for wrapping up a file with a rubber band. It cuts into the folder, it forms a mental barrier, and it creates resistance when you try to slip a bundled file into your file cabinet. Bundling unopened envelopes is a way to guarantee that they will NEVER be opened. Although rubber bands create bundled projects, that go unresolved forever, they themselves, do NOT last forever. They dry up, crack, and stick to the paper they had been bundling, further adding to their uselessness.

OK, so this is how a professional organizer gets controversial. Have I attacked your favorites? Are there other filing supplies that you would add to my list? I’d love to hear from you.

5 Comments
  1. I’m with you on these! In 10 years as an organizer, I’ve had two clients for whom accordion files worked well, and both needed a mobile system for specific papers.

    I’ve learned to carry a stapler in my work bag, so I’m sure we can use staples rather than paper clips for things needing to be clipped together before filing.

    And I’ve seen my fair share of those crumbling (or stuck to papers) rubber bands. 🙁

  2. I’m with you on this one! I love binder clips… but rarely use them in files:) Gonna share this out!

  3. I have lost files only to find them years later clipped to another file.

    But burn my accordion file? Be gentle with me!

    Another great one Matt!

  4. Did you know that rubber bands stay rubbery when stored in the fridge?

  5. Thanks Barbara. Sorry for the slow response. No, I didn’t know that. Refrigeration may help cyanide last longer too, but I’m no more likely to use it.

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