You’ve figured out the joy of folding your socks the Marie Kondo way. So now it’s time to pause and reflect on your current state of digital organization—specifically, your document folders.

In the spirit of Marie Kondo, we can thank the old structure for its service as we consider how to create a new and better system.

Folder structures can be flexible to fit your individual needs, but a consistent pattern will greatly simplify organization. At McKinnon-Mulherin, we do custom project-based writing and instructional design work, but we’ve found they all have similar elements that can be translated into our project folder structure. Each project has the same main folders:

  • Assets—all the elements we would need to recreate the document
  • Critical correspondence—important emails that shouldn’t be buried in one person’s inbox
  • Deliverables—final version(s) of what we actually delivered
  • Design—graphics, fonts, prototypes, and other look-and-feel elements
  • First draft, second draft, etc.—the place for version control
  • Project management—the project leader’s folder
  • Source materials—what we started with from the client

By having consistent organization across all projects, everyone knows where things are located. A key team member goes on vacation? The boss wants to quality check deliverables? A new team member is added to a project? We want to review a past project for lessons learned or samples? No problem. Everyone in the organization can quickly find what they need from start to archive.

Having a standard document folder structure is helpful, but tweaking this structure to meet the needs of specific projects may make sense too. I hope our folders inspire and enable you to create your own document folders. Ultimately, I hope they spark joy!