Organizing Paperwork {The Household Organization Diet}

Happy Friday! I can’t believe how fast this month is going!! Although I haven’t really posted much for this month’s Household Organization Diet, I have been working hard on getting my March To Do list completed.  But, as is often the case, things just aren’t going as fast as planned!
I think the easiest way to start organizing your paper work is to follow the paper trail as it enters your home.  Last week I talked about our Kitchen Command Center or drop zone {which I am currently revising!}.  This is stop one for all of the papers that enter our house.  Any paperwork that needs further action or to be filed away, then travels down to our “home office corner” in the basement.  I am also still working on “prettying things up a bit” down there so today we will focus on the filing system.
At the end of my desk, I have a wire rack that holds some file folders {from the Martha Stewart line at Staples}  I just hung the rack on a Command hook so I didn’t have to drill into the desk and the file folders nicely cover up the hook.  I found this No Junk Mail sign at one of my favorite local stores and attached it with some wire.  Most of the papers from upstairs end up in either the “To Do” folder or the “To File” folder.  The “To Do” folder is where I put bills to pay, letters that I need to respond to or forms that I need to fill out.  I have a few spots that papers in the “To File” folder end up….

 
The main place is in the filing drawer of our desk.  I have a rough color coding system that I use:

  • red – financial info {banking, credit cards, mortgage, investments, etc.}
  • blue – automotive info {one folder for each car and the trailer and one for BCAA info}
  • orange – medical and insurance info
  • green- personal info {care cards, passports, birth certificates, resumes, etc.}
  • yellow – warranties, manuals, and receipts {This is only for receipts that I need to keep longer than one month and for manuals that are not available online}

I keep all of my tax information in a separate portable filing box as it makes things so much easier come tax time!  I only keep the previous year’s tax forms in here and have all of the older tax returns {we have to keep them for 7 years in Canada} filed away in a separate file folder.

Here are a few tips when setting up your paper filing system:

  • Get rid of junk mail as soon as it enters the house.  Better yet, cancel all of those catalogs that you never look at and take yourself off mailing lists.
  • Try paying your bills and doing your banking online as much as possible to reduce your paper trail.  Create a separate folder in your email account to put your online monthly statements until they are paid so your bills don`t get lost in your emails.
  • Make sure you are filing only those papers that are essential.  I keep one statement for my bills just so my account number is easily accessible.  Otherwise, everything is shredded once the bill is paid.  Banking and credit card information is generally easily available online so a paper copy is often not needed.  Manuals are another thing that can take up a lot of space and are rarely used.  Most of them can also be found online freeing up a ton of room in your filing system!
  • Create a designated spot for your paperwork and do not let it travel to other areas of the house.
  • Have a designated day each week for filing and paying bills.  10-15 minutes per week usually does it for me and sticking to this avoids those paper mounds piling up!
  • Don’t be too specific with your file folders.  You only have so much space! Spend some time sorting your papers and divide them into categories that make sense to you.
  • Periodically review your filing system and adapt your categories as needed.  Have a file that rarely gets used?  Combine that info into another file folder.  Is a file bulging at the seams?  Check to see if everything in there is needed and if it is, create subcategories either by date or topic.

 So what do you do to tame your papers?   I’d love to hear your ideas!

{This post is part of my Household Organization Diet series.  You can join in anytime – just start with these two posts here and here.  If you are looking for past projects, you can find them all on my Pinterest board}.

Have a wonderful weekend! 
 I linked up with Stone Gable, Not Just a HousewifeThe Girl Creative, Flamingo Toes, Funky JunkTatertots and Jello, WhipperberryCraftberry Bush, Tidy MomThe 36th AvenueThe Shabby Creek CottageA Bowl Full of LemonsLil LunaSavvy Southern StyleLove Grows Wild, Home Stories A to ZLolly JaneUnder the Table and Dreaming, Craft-O-ManiacAlderberry Hill, I Should be Mopping the Floor, Flamingo Toes, Heart Naptime, Will Cook for Smiles and Chic on a Shoestring.

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Comments

  1. says

    I love the way you take organization to a whole higher level! I am so spending next week organizing our personal papers for each member of the family! It’s smart to always know where everything is! Thanks for the tips!
    Selene @ restorationbeauty.com

  2. says

    Girl, this couldn’t have been posted at a better time! My papers are currently scattered on my office floor and I find myself overwhelmed! I can’t wait to put your organizing skills to use in my home! Thank you for the post! Jennifer

  3. says

    Спасибо за статью. Я сейчас как раз пытаюсь разобраться со всеми нашими документами (они пока просто свалены в папку общую и лежат в пакете, что очень неудобно).

  4. Debbie wyler says

    Great ideas! Thanks for sharing. I have been looking for file folders that are vertical like the blue and white ones you have in the wire file holder. Where did you find them? Thanks!

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