One of the most confusing things for adults, particularly those over 40, to understand is how filing is done on a computer. We like to compare it to something just about everyone is familiar with - a file cabinet.
1) First, think of your computer as the complete file cabinet.
2) Next, think of each drawer equaling one hard drive. We'll call the top drawer in this file cabinet Drawer C which will be the same as the C:\ hard drive. Subsequently, the bottom drawer we'll call Drawer D and that will be equal to your computer's D:\ hard drive - assuming your computer has two hard drives.
Now, everyone knows that inside the drawer of a file cabinet there will be file folders placed. However, there may also be file folder dividers as well.
For our example, let's say that we wanted to keep all of our receipts for the year in Drawer C. We have decided to first divide the drawer into 12 divisions - one division for each month of the year. You with us so far?
Okay, now, let's say we wanted to divide each month into sections as well. For example, we might divide each month's receipts into set categories: auto expenses, clothing, food, gas, mortgage/rent, utilities and misc. as a catch all.
With this in mind, let's follow how we'd handle a receipt once we were ready to file it.
It's January 15th and we just stopped on our way home and filled our car with $30 worth of gas. We ask for a receipt and we place it in our pocket. When we get home, hopefully, we still have the receipt and we place it in a drawer knowing we'll file it later.
It's now December and we know we have to get our filing done for tax purposes, so we go to our "receipt temporary drawer" and start sorting. There's that receipt from January 15th for gas. We go to our file cabinet and we open Drawer C because that's where were decided we'd file all the receipts for this year.
Next, we find the divider (most likely in the front of the drawer) for January expenses. We separate that divisional folder and we find the file folder labeled "gas." We open that folder and quickly slip our receipt inside.
So, looking at the whole process from a backwards angle, we would see that the gas receipt is in a file folder labeled "gas" and that folder is in a larger folder labeled "January" and that folder is in a drawer labeled "receipts for the year."
If you're still with us, feel free to move onto Part 2 of "How To Understand Filing."
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