Filing … I don’t know anyone who likes to do it, at home or at the office. However, it has to be done or you’ll have mountains of paperwork and won’t be able to find anything when you need it.
There are numerous different approaches and tips to setting up an organized filing system. You can probably spend the better part of a day searching Google for the best one. The trick is finding what works for your household needs. Once you decide which setup is right for your family, it basically comes down to the mundane task of ‘just do it’ 🙂
Here is what works for me …
*Some vital documents you keep forever and I keep them in a small fire-proof safe. I keep our birth certificates, passports, will, etc. in here for safekeeping.
*I have a standard 2 drawer file cabinet where I keep official documents and papers I may need to refer back to at some point in time. I have hanging files labeled for income tax returns, insurance policies, mortgage, bank accounts, investments, car titles, medical records, etc. Any documents that I may need to show proof of. These I keep indefinitely, usually until it no longer applies to us. Here are some guidelines from Becky at http://www.cleanmama.net/2013/08/how-long-should-i-keep-it-for-free-printable.html that I found useful.
*I use a portable file box for monthly household management. I have hanging files labeled for everything that gets paid monthly … like utilities, credit cards, car payments, cell phone, etc. For example, I have one for Com Ed, NiCor, Verizon, and MasterCard. In each hanging file, I have 2 manila file folders labeled CURRANT and LAST YEAR. I ‘try’ to file these statements right after paying the bill. At the end of December, I empty the LAST YEAR folders and move the CURRANT contents to LAST YEAR to start the New Year. I purge or shred the old ones. I’ve found that you can usually find a copy online if you actually need to refer back to something more than a couple of years old. Of course, if you pay your bills online, you can save a copy of the monthly statements on your computer … a different kind of filing 🙂
Of course, filing paper copies of recurring monthly statements is rather old school … you can always “save a tree” by going ‘paperless’ with many companies.
*I also have an accordion type file that I keep household instruction manuals and warranties in.
As I mentioned earlier, you have to find a system for keeping your papers organized that works for you and your family. This is the system that works for my family for now.
I hope some of these tips will inspire you …
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