Electronic documents that I no longer need on a day-to-day basis are moved into an Archive folder on my external hard drive. The structure of this archive folder is as follows (adapted from Esther Weidauer’s approach):
One folder pear year (2021, 2020, …). This folder contains subfolders per document kind: Contracts, Payslips, Invoices, etc. I use the date I created or received the document to determine into which year-folder it goes.
A “Timeless” folder. This folder contains documents where the creation date is much less relevant, if at all. I currently have two subfolders: Recipes (certainly timeless) and Literature (for ebooks/PDFs).
A “Current” folder. This folder contains aliases/symlinks to archived documents or subfolders. At the moment, this folder contains the following:
This structure creates a small reset each year. This way, there is no need for a structure remains in place for decades.
Old and possibly irrelevant documents stay out of sight.
It becomes easier to identify which documents are outdated and can be thrown away, if needed.
This approach does not work well for physical archives. Structuring by year is too granular. It might work better by half decade.
When modifying a document significantly, should it move to a different year-folder? Or would it be better to not modify the original, and rather modify a copy?
When receiving a document in 2022 describing details from 2021, does the document belong in 2021 or in 2022?