Making filing easier

For me, one of the most annoying parts of setting up a filing system is creating the labeled tabs on the hanging file folders. It’s a fussy and time-consuming process, dealing with those paper inserts for the plastic tabs.

One solution is to avoid hanging file folders altogether and just use standard file folders, but that’s awkward for many people, given that many file cabinets are set up for hanging files. But there are other alternatives, and if you get as annoyed as I do with the standard plastic tabs, you may want to consider one of these.

Erasable hanging folder tabs are the ones I’m going to try, myself. You can use them with the hanging folders you already have, although they cost about 25 percent more than the normal 1/3 cut plastic tabs do. (I much prefer the longer 1/3 cut tabs to the shorter 1/5 cut tabs, because you can have more meaningful filenames.) You need to use a permanent marker and a standard white eraser, which could be a minor hassle — but many offices I’m in already have those lying around. Alternatively, I’m guessing you could attach a self-adhesive label made with a label maker to the tab if you prefer that to handwritten labels.

If you don’t already have hanging file folders, you might want to try the folders with built-in erasable tabs. You can get them in this moss color or in assorted colors, and there’s a box-bottom option if you need the extra space. However, these folders may be problematic for those of us who prefer straight-line filing, since the tabs come in sets with three positions: left, right, and center.

If you want to use labels from a label maker, and don’t care about the erasable feature, you could buy similar hanging folders with built-in 2-ply reinforced tabs. You could also write on these with pencil and erase as needed, but penciled labels may be a bit too faint to read easily.

The unusual Find It hanging files have a lower top rail so you can easily see the tabs on the interior folders — so you don’t need any tabs on the hanging folders. These folders can also help those who have file cabinets where normal hanging folder tabs don’t fit because of the drawer height.

This solution assumes you use interior file folders in your hanging files, which not everyone does. (I often don’t.) But for the right person, these can be a great choice. I know someone who gave away all her other hanging file folders and uses these exclusively.

6 Comments for “Making filing easier”

  1. posted by infmom on

    I don’t know if they are still available because we are still using up the box we bought years ago, but I’d recommend hanging folder tabs that have replaceable inserts. If the purpose of the folder changes, slide out the old label and slide in the new one.

  2. posted by Alphabet Soup on

    Another solution is to use the regular plastic tabs that come with the files and put a piece of removable Scotch tape on them, and write the name of the file on the tape. Clear and easy to read, and to remove when you wish to do so.

  3. posted by Sarah on

    Cut the sticky end off a sticky-note & use that as a tab label. The super-sticky ones stay on very, very well.

    Then you’re left with the un-sticky part of the sticky-note (just plain paper) to use or recycle. Can use that part for bookmarks, notes, to make a shopping list, do origami, or cut into confetti.

  4. posted by Christina on

    I use white super-sticky post-it notes in the tab area. I don’t even cut them. They work great.

  5. posted by SkiptheBS on

    I keep sticky mailing labels for a variety of purposes. They can be printed and cut to size.

  6. posted by Gina on

    Labeling and folders is my favorite part! No wonder I went into the archives profession. I consider it the reward part of my work to print out the labels and set them (tada!) on the newly organized records.

    At home I use a label maker on manila file folders which are set into hanging folders. I think I picked this up from a temp job ages ago and it does help with removing folders for filing/reference and then dropping back into the drawer.

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