When I keep my papers in a file, they tend to stick out when there are too many of them, and especially when the file becomes too thick. The paper keeps slipping out and the file stays bulged out even when everything inside it has been removed. Is there any way to keep the file the way it is and keep the paper inside (besides splitting them into multiple files)?

  • How about using clips or use an accordion file?
    – fixit7
    May 3, 2019 at 2:03
  • Accordion files take up a lot of space (my friends use it and it was really big). Clips are a good idea actually but won't the paper crumple if you put it in a bag (the edges)?
    – Osprey
    May 3, 2019 at 9:59
  • Sounds like you need something that fully encloses the papers.
    – fixit7
    May 3, 2019 at 15:32

4 Answers 4


Welcome to LIFEHACKS ! ! !

Here's a hack for you if (for some inexplicable reason) you can't or won't work with anything other than the original folder to contain files.

If you can not or will not enlarge the file folder, or change it, or divide its contents, or modify it in ANY way, you can or may reduce the individual pages in the folder using a photocopier (or similar machine) and reproduce several reduced prints on one normal-sized page of standard-sized paper in your folder.

Like this: Reduce "file" size hack

  • This will reduce the size of your file to 1/16 of the original size for example. 2 pages on each copy will cut your file in half. etc.
    – Stan
    May 6, 2019 at 23:23
  • If youre going to go to that level of effort you might as well just photograph the pages and keep them electronically?
    – Caius Jard
    May 7, 2019 at 20:02
  • @CaiusJard Yes. Submit it as an answer and delete your comment. Who knows what will be accepted? Go for it! Welcome to LifeHacks ! Enjoy sharing your knowledge and experience.
    – Stan
    May 7, 2019 at 21:20

When the contents of a file become overloaded, it is the result of a disorganized file with irrelevant or out-of-date (stale-dated) documents.

It is time to split the file into more relevant ones that are smaller than the original. Use envelopes to contain like things within the file. Use dividers.

Usually, dated materials can be put into one or more files split into periods that are more manageable by month, or year. For example, one file with all my tax returns over twenty years will be too large so I split them into separate years. If they were still too big, I could further separate them alphabetically, too.

Take a look at the whole file and see what things could be better categorized by date, subject, etc.

Maybe the kind of file folder can be modified. There are some with flaps and elastic bands to hold lots of paper in an organized way.


I've used this in the past:

Start an organization process where you first have a filing cabinet. from there, keep a log of where all of your files are in that cabinet. put that log in a quick access folder which will tell you the exact location of each file.

EX: 2017 Sales Summary: CAB 2, SHELF 3, SEC 12, DOC 6-18.

This is great if you're in an office. It will keep your files organized and you can tell people exactly where a file is.

  • Use a better file, like a box file, that will keep the pages in neater condition

  • Use a wider file, that can accommodate more pages, or consider getting an archive document box and removing pages to it that aren't frequently needed any more

Accept the physical limitations imposed by the universe; you can't put 500 pages into a file intended to hold 250, without it bulging and distorting from the excess weight of the pages. Sometimes there isn't a life hack that is an adequate, cost effective substitute for replacing your "product that is no longer fit for purpose" with a product that is fit for the purpose.

Files are so cheap and varied that it's hard to imagine how they don't fit into this category of "products that should be replaced by a bigger product when they become too small", and hence there probably isn't a suitable life hack that offers a better result...

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