It’s that time of the month again – to review an organizing tool. I’m going to assume you all know what hanging folders are, though I’m finding that not everyone realizes some of the options that are available. I wonder sometimes whether they’ve been around so long that we figure that we’re limited to the familiar design.
As with any product, it’s important to be aware of how much it can hold before it begins to lose its effectiveness. Hanging folders are limited in how many files/papers they can hold – even if we want them to hold more. Just like file folders, your traditional hanging folders have a series of creases along the bottom. These creases are there for you to expand the amount it can consistently hold. Just be sure to make the creases on both sides at the same place so that it hangs evenly.
There’s nothing wrong with having more than one hanging folder for your topic/category. And there are different approaches you can take with having several hanging folders for each topic.
- Use the plastic label tabs only on the first hanging folders, so everything behind it until the next label tab is the same topic
- Use different color hanging folders (or alternating colors) for each topic, so that the combination of label tabs as well as color can cue you about what topic you’re in
- Use the label tabs for each hanging folder, simply labeling each one with the same title followed by the number of hanging folders
For many years I wasn’t aware about the square or box bottomed hanging folders. If you end up with them accidentally, they often don’t sit well in filing cabinets, as they’re a tad taller unless you’ve added the cardboard piece into the bottom to give them their square bottoms. Many years ago now I found them to be flimsy, mine broke down quickly, though they seem to have improved. These can be great for larger categories, though if you don’t fill it up sufficiently the files will bend and slip down.
There are many different tab options as well. There are the traditional plastic tabs that you fit into slots on the hanging file. You can get hanging files with paper or cardboard tabs that you label which of course can never move. Another option is the slide tabs, which snap into place somewhat while still being more easily moved without dis-attaching the whole tab. While looking for images as well as what else might be out there, I found pop up tabs on hanging folders.
Another variation in hanging folder style is the top-rail hanging folder where the pieces that hold the hanging folder onto the frame are not even. This allows more of the file to be visible in the filing cabinet.
Also they make hanging pockets (or called hanging jackets) where the hanging folder has full sides except at the top where you put papers in. The design of this type provides you with the ability to store non-paper items within if you choose. It also protects the papers from sliding out unless you turn it upside down. Similar to the accordion folders though it is designed for the sides to bend in, which means papers can get bent.
In addition to these design differences, they are also making hanging folders of different materials so you’re not just limited to cardboard. Similarly, you have some choices in brackets used to attach the hanging folders in the filing cabinet. One of which is with plastic hooks with tension springs that can be especially useful when your frame has bent a little.
I know before I got into professional organizing I didn’t know about all these options, though I certainly knew about some. In this world filled with such a plethora of choices and options it can be overwhelming to consider trying to figure out what is available, let along what would be best for your situation. Also I’m not always interested in trying something new when what I’ve used works fine, although I appreciate knowing the possibilities.