Sunday, January 13, 2013

Organizing the Paperwork

Today, I would like to write about our paperwork and about how I organized it. 

Throughout the years, I have tried different systems for organizing all of our paperwork. Some of them worked well, others not so much. 

One thing I learned from filing things in binders, in hanging file folders, in regular file folders in magazine holders, and lastly by jamming all of our new mail in a box is the following:  

I hate to whole-punch stuff. I am not sure why. But if a punch is involved, my files are going to sit there for a while waiting to be put away.
I also don´t like binders too much, as once they start to fill up, they become heavy and impractical to use. 

With our move to the new apartment came a whole new bunch of bills and papers that needed to be organized and put away. Since my 2 binders were stuffed to the rim and not working for me, I temporarily placed everything new in a box. There was a little problem though: Each time I needed to review something or find information in there, I had to go through the entire thing waisting time searching. 

So looking over my freshly-made list of projects, I decided to tackle the paperwork and bills next.
Here is what I started with: 

    • A bunch of letters stuffed into a box
    • A bunch of large envelopes with insurance policies and the like
    • 2 big binders full of our documents
    And here are the steps of thought I went through:

    1. I really thought about the different systems I had used previously and which types had worked best for me (meaning paperwork was filed on time and my husband could find things easily).
    2. Next I decided on either hanging file folders or something similar.
    3. After that, I thought about all the different types of documents we use and the number of folders we would need.
    4. Then I researched prices and found these:


    5. Lastly, I went about organizing all of our paperwork again, purging were possible and creating categories with sub-files. I placed household bills in one color of folders, investment and retirement account info in another color of folders, and so on. In the end, I had about 6 or 7 different categories with differing numbers of sub-folders.


    6. For now, I placed these folders in the same box as I previously used for the loose bills right onto our desk in the living-room. Once I tackle the whole living-room storage situation in a few weeks or months, I will remove them from plain sight.


    What I like about these folders:
    • They fit a lot of differently-sized paper
    • Each bill, account or household member has its own folder
    • Folders can be transported easily if needed
    • When filing new paperwork I can just get out the ones I need
    • No whole-punching required
    • I can add to this collection or re-arrange it very easily

    So what do you think? I hope this system gives you an idea on how to file your own paperwork more effectively.

    Take Care!


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