As I alluded to in my last post on craft closet organization, I’m going to tell you how I’ve revamped our paperwork filing system.
I really, really don’t like paperwork. Let me clean, let me do laundry, let me do real work, but don’t make me sort through bills and papers. My dislike for this part of housekeeping is probably what makes me less than organized with paper.
I was recently talking with my friend Melissa about this very topic, and she inspired me to create a nifty binder system for keeping current receipts and records in.
Household Finances Binder
Normally, I’d pay a bill, then set the record of my payment back to be filed in my filing cabinet, which is three rooms away from my computer desk. I had my filing cabinet sorted alphabetically, but I could never remember which actual word I had labeled the different categories with. Had I labeled the folder for auto insurance as “Auto”, or “Insurance?” I know, I know, I could check both the I and the A section, but (sigh) having to do so just made the task that much more of a hassle.
So I took my friend’s idea and made it my own. I got a big binder, slipped scrapbook paper into the cover pockets, and set it up like this:
1) A zipper pocket to hold pens, calculator, and paper.
2) A calendar to mark when bills are due.
3) Tab dividers with pockets to store receipts.
When I open a bill, I mark the due date on the calendar and put it in the front pocket of the notebook. When I pay the bill, I three-hole punch the stub and file it behind the appropriate tab. When I bring home receipts, they go in the pocket on the front of the tab divider for that expense category. I got a lot of these ideas from this website. I no longer have to leave my computer desk to file my paperwork. I have my binder sitting right there on my desk. And if I have to check on something I’ve already paid, I can readily find it.
Now for my filing cabinet. If I had more shelf space, I could just keep putting binders in order from one year to the next, but my shelves are all filled up with books. So my plan is to organize my files by year when I remove from my binder the stuff I want to keep at the end of the year.
I have a front section (yellow) and a back section (green) in my file drawer labeled “Household.” The front section holds all the things that I want to keep in the same place from year to year: insurance policies, bank account info, vehicle info, and medical records such as immunizations for the kids. The back section is simply categorized by year and the folders are labeled with the same labels that are in my notebook.
I’m sure for some of you this was a no-brainer; you’ve already been there, done that. But for me, it is a much-needed and welcome improvement to my filing system.
Home School Files
Here are some changes I made to my home school files. I decided to dedicate a chunk of a file drawer for each of my five kids, putting their art work and school work by year behind their name. Again, pretty much a no-brainer, but I had been previously putting their art work under D for Drawings, and their school work in chronological order by the year, but not by each kid. (I know. . . . didn’t I already mention I was lame at filing?!)
And, lastly, here’s one of my favorite improvements: sorting paper by color, dropping it into a matching file folder, and keeping it tucked neatly out of the way in a drawer.
I finished off this project by printing off some pretty labels for each drawer.
So now you know where I am in the paper work organization game. How about you? What have you found to be the ideal way to deal with filing? I’m open to better and better ideas all the time!