A Simple Way to Organize Files at Home

When organizing a home office or household command center, it’s important to have a very organized filing system. Papers and important documents need to be organized in such a way that every family member can use it.

Unfortunately, most file systems only make sense to the person who does the filing. That, my friends, is not smart!

As yourself this question: Will my spouse, my children, or other family members know where to find important documents in my absence?

If the answer is yes, then you are good to go!

If the answer is no, then let me tell you about a filing system that has completely revolutionized the way I organize papers.

The Freedom Filer

In the past, I struggled knowing where to file almost every single piece of paper that came into my house.

If a document could be filed in 2 or more categories, I never knew which one to choose. I would inevitably choose one category the first time that type of paper needed to be filed and I would chose the other category the next time. I never seemed to choose the same file folder twice.

File folder names can make or break a filing system.

Trying to figure out the perfect file name had me constantly tweaking my personal filing system. When I needed to retrieve a document, I wasn’t sure where to look since I couldn’t remember the exact name of the file or which category I used.

At the start of each new year I wasn’t sure if I should make new folders or just co-mingle with the previous year. I was completely overwhelmed when dealing with paperwork and almost gave up.

That is, until I found the Freedom Filer.

Not to be too dramatic but the Freedom Filer seriously changed my life when it comes to household and business paperwork.

Here’s why:

  • The Freedom Filer has an “Active” area and a “Resource” area. The active area holds documents you need to keep during the current year like monthly documents, bills and receipts, W2, 1099, and other tax documents. The resource area organized documents you need to keep but don’t retrieve often. You know, marriage and birth certificates, wills and trusts, insurance information, home records, auto records, education records, family history, tax documents from previous years, and just about anything else you can think of.
  • The Active and Resource categories are broken down into every conceivable subject. There are the obvious file categories. But there are also folders for random things like “ideas” for all those things you eventually want to do, and  “coupons” for those monthly fliers you get in the mail.
  • The monthly and tax categories have 2 sets of labels…one for odd years and one for even years. Think about how brilliant this is for the transition period between the January 1 and April 15 tax season. After taxes are submitted there’s even a place to file documents for a decade…or forever if you’re more comfortable with that.
  • An easy to use instruction guide is included to walk you through the process of setting up your files. This is extremely helpful!
  • A reference section is included to help you figure out where to put a document in case you forget or are deciding between 2 folders.
  • There are 5 reference cards available that can be used by you (or anyone else in your absence) to figure out where important documents are located.
  • Freedom Filer sends monthly and yearly email reminders so you rotate and purge files regularly.

See the Freedom Filer in action here:

Being a do-it-yourself, frugal kind of gal, I tried my hardest not to spend the $30-$40 needed for these labels. I used my precious time trying to find out the categories and labels in this system so I could replicate it instead of actually getting organized. I should have just bought Freedom Filer to begin with and moved on with my life!

Again, if you have a system that works for you, then definitely keep using it!! But if you’re looking for a super easy way to get your papers organized once and for all, then I can’t recommend the FreedomFiler enough. It really is the easiest way I’ve found to keep business, personal, or random paperwork organized.

Freedom Filer

You can read about my complete home office remodel here.

Affiliate links included.


  1. Bridget says

    My next spring cleaning action areas: my office closet and my husband’s dresser drawers (if he will let me!). Just reorganized my office shelves with those card storage boxes that are on sale at Michael’s this week, and they look so much better :)

  2. Danelle says

    wow…your office is an inspiration! my whole house could use a makeover, but my master closet, is a good place to start! thanks for so many great tips

  3. Kandisue says

    Wow, spring came early to Arizona. And I have been busy. I guess I will say my laundry room/ back door area needs a redo.

  4. Pearl says

    Just organized my craft space/desk. It took an 1.5 hrs and I had a blast doing it. Still not done as I need to buy some storage totes/baskets to put on the bookshelf and need to put up the hanging lamp and a framed pegboard but it’s looking fantastic already! Wish I took before pics!!

  5. says

    Love your blog, thanks for this wonderful opportunity. And totally relate, we just moved, I run a business, and life has been wild. On top of it all we moved into a house that has “space” for closets, without any “actual closet” No bar to hang clothes, no shelving, or drawers just a blank slate… so winning a closet makeover would be a dream come true!

  6. AJ says

    I really need to do some spring cleaning in our master bedroom! It’s become our “stash everything” place…

    • iDreamOfClean says

      Oh I can totally relate. I actually a few things in mine right now that need to go..thanks for the reminder :)

  7. Sarah C says

    Looks great! Maybe you can find some baskets to fill the dresser holes where you put paper??? Great job!! Inspiring..

    • iDreamOfClean says

      I would LOVE some baskets…great suggestion! I have looked briefly but the size of the holes are kind of odd. I’m not giving up hope yet though :)

      • says


        I saw something (somewhere) where the person wove her own baskets out of brown twisted paper. They were beautiful and looked rather sturdy. With all your spare time, I’m sure you could do a couple of baskets, right?

  8. says

    Wow your transformation is fantastic! Your organized files has me envious! I bet it’s so much easier to get work done now in such a pretty space!

  9. Natalie says

    It looks great! Our office is currently the place for everything that doesn’t have its own place too, so I need to do some spring cleaning in there!

  10. Janet says

    My next project is to clean and organize my master closet. After that, my home office is next. I have lots and lots to do!

  11. Katie Kimsey says

    Oh my goodness. I need to spring clean my entire home!! We bought a house a little less than a year ago and everything needs a bit of organization and love.

  12. Stephanie says

    My office could really use some love! You’ve inspired me to make it my project while my husband is gone this week. Great job on the dresser!

  13. Veronica S. says

    Man oh man, my linen/craft/everything-with-no-home closet is a mess because I don’t know how to organize the awful, deep shelves! And, of course there’s a door on it so I can easily hide the mess! I’m so glad to find your blog and get some inspiration on making my home beautiful (and at the very least organized!)

  14. Fawn says

    I will be doing some light weight spring cleaning in my whole house just to freshen things up and since my daughter is a little older and much taller (2 yrs old and over 3 ft tall – have to make some adjustments). I am planning on doing quite a lot in my kitchen (my play room) and the study (hubby’s play room). And have two weeks to get as much done as possible and get ready for the hubby’s upcoming knee surgery. A lot on my plate and very thankful for bloggers willing to give advice and share so many tips and tricks and help people like me stay motivated so that I don’t feel overwhelmed.

  15. Amy W says

    My entire house needs to be re-organized, but especially the closets. Moved into this house in June last year, and the closets are all empty – noy even hanging rods! Hubby is slowly building shelves and rods, but it’s slow going!

  16. says

    Excited because I tackled the laundry room and posted all the photos and info on Hometalk and Pinterest so I’m eligible for the Spring Cleaning Challenge prizes. I am SO DREAMING of winning that closet system. My master closet is a serious disaster! Thanks for the opportunity.

  17. Betty819 says

    Your office looks very neat and clean but how can you stand not to have some color in that room?.I’d be depressed looking at black and white all the time. But I do like how you have arranged everything. Wished my home office were that neat..Hey! I’m working on it but my ADD keeps me struggling. I am especially interested in what appears to be white boards on the wall. Did you buy them like that or make them yourself? I love the size of them; that size would be perfect on my office door. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • iDreamOfClean says

      Let me tell you, I want some color…paint is next when it’s in the budget!! My little teal dresser is what keeps me going for now :) I just had to stick with what I already had and keep the budget low if you know what I mean.

      As for the white boards, I found these on sale at a home improvement store: http://bit.ly/theboarddudes Sadly I can’t remember which one now!!

  18. Katie says

    I have read this before… and even pinned it to remind me to go back and take a look. I FINALLY read about this filing system. Definitely doing this!

  19. says

    This does look like a great and simple filing system. I have found that getting a new portafile each year has worked really well for me. And I can usually get them at thrift stores or garage sales so they are really inexpensive.

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