The Filing System that Works!

Do You Hate Filing and Paper Piles???

Okay, so I have a little weakness when it comes to paper.  I end up with piles and piles of paper and then when someone comes over, I quickly clean my counter by throwing it all into a box to sort through later.  Yikes!!!  Can you relate?  So I finally found a filing system that works for me and I’m a HUGE procrastinator.  This system makes it so simple that even I can make it work!!!  (So that means, ANYONE could make it work!)

The reason this system works for me is that it totally eliminates the need to empty out the filing cabinet at the end of the year.  For me, sorting through all my files at the end of the year was such a daunting task, that I couldn’t bear to do it.  So I didn’t, and then I ended up with piles and piles of paper on my counter which ultimately made it into a “sort” box.  Not a real good solution.

First off I had to recognize why my paper kept piling up:

  1.  There was no room in the file cabinet.
  2.  I wasn’t eliminating junk-mail immediately.
  3. My permanent files and temporary files were getting mixed up.
  4. My system wasn’t easy enough for me to keep up with it.  (I have 8 kids to keep up with so endless filing will always take a backseat!  So if it’s going to work, it’s got to be easy, simple and quick!!!)

Let me explain the difference between what I call temporary files and permanent files.  Temporary files are the ones that can get filed away at the end of the year and you no longer need to reach quickly.  Temporary files include monthly bank statements and all bills paid during that year. Permanent files, are the ones that you need access to or at least need to know where they are at in a moment’s notice.  To me, these include warranties, insurance policies, automobile titles, deeds, and your original bank records and credit card agreements.  These permanent files need to be secure because they have a lot of valuable and sensitive information.

So here’s my system in a “nutshell”:  I buy two of those expandable filing boxes in different colors with the handles on top… I keep a business file box for our small business and a file box for our personal files.   I label all my files in this accordion filing system.  They fit legal size paper which is super nice for some bills I get in the mail!  Each time I pay a bill or receive correspondence, I file it away.  (I take it out of its envelope and toss the “extra” envelopes and paper that comes with it.)  In the back of the file box, I created a file called “Taxes, End of Year” that I put receipts, donation records, etc. for when I do taxes.  At the end of the year, after I pull out my tax stuff, I file the box in “storage” and wait however long it is that I need to keep them and then burn/shred everything.  Now, I do realize that I don’t have to keep all my old bills, but I don’t want to “sort” through any of the paper, so “NOT touching it“, again, is part of my success!!!  It all stores nicely on my storage shelves and I have the year clearly marked on the outside.

Another key to this system is keeping up on the junk mail and shredding it the minute it comes in.  That took a change in habits for me and a little change in my “command center”, but once I got those little details worked out, my system has worked wonderfully!  All in all, not having to empty my file drawers each year was part of the key to my success!  The “perfect filing system” will be the one that works best for you!  A little “tweak” here and a little “tweak” there and you may just come up with the perfect system for you!

Happy Filing!




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