How to Organize Client Folders

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How to Organize Client Folders

Today I am sharing How to Organize Client Folders.

Yes, that’s right, the old-fashioned, hold in your hand, physical folders.

Coloured Folders With Pockets

Perhaps you have everything stored digitally and think this is very old school? Well, that’s okay because I am a little old school and I like it this way!

For the record, in addition to our physical file folders, we do use an online program to store all of our client project files that my entire team can easily access. For me personally, though, I still love something tangible that I can touch and carry with me in my bag!

In this video, I show you exactly how I organize a client’s folder and what goes in them.

How to Organize Client Folders

I want to go through with you my Client Folders and How to Organize Them. This is the key way I keep every current project I am working on organized. I have different files within the main file folder and I will explain what I keep in each of them.

To Start:

I start with the main file folder. The ones I use I’ve had forever. I need to buy some more as have none left but sadly these ones are no longer available!

A folder with a sleeve and a pocket has worked beautifully for organizing our interior design project files. Within the main folder, I have 4 colour-coded individual pockets that I slot into the sleeve side.

In the pocket side I keep all my samples for that project such as fabric swatches, wallpaper samples, paint chips, etc.

Project Pockets to organize client folders
I use coloured Project Pockets similar to these to keep my client documents separate and organized.

Each Colour Project Pocket has its own purpose:

Project Pocket #1

The first project pocket contains all of the product specifications. This is for any relevant information pertaining to products we are considering for the project. Along with those are any quotes we have received from the GC and/or trades.

If we did a 3D Design with PowerPoint Presentation for the project or any mood boards, they will also go within this folder.

Project Pocket #2

Next comes a pocket for any measurements and drawings. This can include the floor plans done on graph paper, original house plans a client may have given us that they have from the builder, any CAD drawings, elevation documents and 3D renderings.

Project Pocket #3

Pocket 3 is for keeping all our client information neatly organized. We add our completed Discovery Call form and New Client Checklist that you can find in my ROCK the Initial Consultation Processes Package to this folder. We also add any important correspondence such as emails that we think are necessary to have easily at hand, as well as a copy of the signed contract.

Image Of Folders
Example of our colour coded project ‘pocket’ folders

Project Pocket #4

This is the green one so it makes sense to house all of the invoices we’ve issued to the clients in this folder.

Project Pocket #5

Here’s where we change it up a bit. The final of the project pockets is not kept in the main client folder. This last pocket is kept separate as it contains our invoices from vendors, suppliers, and the trades for items or services that we paid for on the client’s behalf for the project.

As this is confidential and not shared with our clients, we always keep this information in our interior design studio.

On the Pocket side I put:

In my current folder, there is a large clear plastic pocket that has a flap so that everything can stay nicely contained. It’s an ideal spot for storing fabric swatches, plus samples of perhaps flooring, tile, and maybe even a countertop piece or two.

Fabrics samples 
paint chips
wallpaper sample
counter sample

Depending on the size of the project this built-in pocket may not be nearly big enough to hold everything you need.

In this case, we use a larger tray or container. You may even need multiples of these, depending on the size of the project and how many different rooms you are doing within a home. For a commercial project, I imagine you would need a larger-sized container.

Performance Tray 2
I also have an acrylic JF Fabrics tray that we sometimes use for samples

There’s nothing I like more than being super organized in my business!

What do you do to stay organized in your interior design business? Do you use only digital storage for each client project or are you more like me, a bit old school with file folders as well?

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(4) Comments
  • Anne
    | 9 March 2021

    I love this post and that you’re sharing your system with other designers Claire. We used your system in our office (after hearing about it on your FB group) and it was brilliant! Much better than the multiple bulging folders of the past.

  • Claire Jefford
    | 9 March 2021

    Hey Anne! I’m so glad you have implemented this system and that it’s working for your interior design business. Thanks for sharing your feedback!

  • Fluix
    | 3 November 2022

    It looks very cool for interior design. But in fact, if we talk about convenience, economy and time saving, I advise you to keep paper files in a single digital environment. Organized and digitized documents have a better impact on business development.

    • Claire Jefford
      | 4 November 2022

      We do have digital files that we keep on the computer now, but still like to have some things printed so we can have them easily to hand and review with trades on site when needed.

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