Paperless Organizing Knowhow: Tags vs Folders

Table of Contents

We’ve always needed methods to help us optimally store and retrieve information.

Anciently, perhaps it was learning songs to help recall life-saving knowledge and important historical events. We progressed to ink and paper of some form, but since access was limited, it wasn’t too hard to organize or locate it later.

More recently, we moved to copy machines, scanners, and file cabinets.

Today, many offices still rely on paper files for storage, but most people have a huge amount of information stored digitally that could use a system for easily organizing and retrieving.

In addition to work-related items, we also have digital photos, journal entries, daily lists and tasks, side-endeavors, blogs, research papers, the list could be endless. The things we need to organize are as varied as the people who need to organize them.

We know there are different ways to store things for optimal organization and retrieval—so what are they, and which is best?

This brings us to our current topic: tags and folders.

If you look into the subject of tags and folders online, you’ll notice a theme. No one can agree on which method is “best”, and everyone has their own opinion. It’s a classic online debate. (Who knew we techies could be so controversial?)

But there is something we can all agree on. In order to build an optimized system, we need to define the terms. To begin, let’s define what tags and folders are so we can see how they’re the same, how they’re different, and which works best in certain applications.

From there, I’ll show you what works best for me, and then leave it to you to devise your own method for using these versatile tools.  


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