I need the 21st century. Couldn’t cope without technology. But I accept your mileage may vary so if you have a lot of paper or you really want to do things with paper, I’m not judging you. I don’t comment, I merely report:
I was reminded of this earlier when reminiscing about my old job and the Noguchi filing system. It was devised by Japanese economist Noguchi Yukio, and for about a year I used it extensively.
Instead of a filing cabinet or set of drawers, you’ll need an open shelf and several 9″ x 12″ (or larger) envelopes. Using scissors, cut the flap off the top of the envelope, as shown above. You cut the top off to make it super easy to get at the envelope’s contents. Next, write the date and title along the side of the envelope. Again, see the image at above for a reference. Make one envelope per project and place the envelopes next to each other on the shelf, with the date and title side facing outward.
Don’t attempt to organize, classify, or otherwise sort the envelopes. It will be tempting to do so, but the beauty here is that the system takes care of organizing for you. As you take a folder off the shelf to use it, return it to the far left.
I can’t look. Is it over? Caolo’s full feature on Unclutterer details the idea complete with a diagram.