Tackle It Tuesday: Paperwork Organization (bills etc.)

Today’s “Tackle” is Paper. There seems to be paper everywhere. There’s newspapers, mail, school work, home drawings, receipts and more. I constantly struggle with paper organization.

How long do you keep your paperwork like visa bills, insurance papers, tax folders etc.? Seriously, please leave me a comment and let me know. I want to know I’m not the only freak…or if I am! I keep the last seven years of tax purposes and I keep a few years of paperwork bills (although most of our bills are electronic now, thank goodness!).

My hubby thinks I’m nuts for my paperwork files!

I would like to share with you my filing system today.

I have files upstairs (in my “office”–my kitchen) and files downstairs in the basement.

My files upstairs are for short term filing purposes.

My files in the basement are for long term storing purposes.

I have two accordion style files on my desk. One is for recipes. One is for paperwork.

In my recipe folder, I keep file folders in categories. Each category has two folders, one for recipes that I like in that category and one folder for recipes to try. I cut them out of magazines and print them off the web and file under the appropriate category (breakfast, vegetables, desserts, snacks, pork, appetizers, soups and sauces, pasta and rice, chicken and turkey, beef, holidays etc.). Once I try them, they either get discarded (if the recipe is an obvious flop) or it goes into the “keep” folder.

The other file is just that–for other stuff. My sections in that one are items to be filed downstairs, current items (various schedules), health, manuals (ones that we refer to often), important receipts etc.. I also keep file folders in the back for the papers that we receive most often in the mail (e.g. bills, insurance receipts, RRSP/RESP updates etc.) so that I don’t have to file them in the basement every time we get one. At the end of the year, I take those folders and add them to our main storing system in the basement and I take out on year’s worth to discard (shred).

TIP:I have learned a technique that I am trying to use–only touch a piece of paper once.

Now, I take you down into the depths of our basement to where I keep our long term filing box:

This box can store hanging file folders AND it is somewhat portable.

The greatest part of my system is definitely NOT how it looks. It’s how functionable it is!

Here is how I have organized it…
I have green hanging folders for each category (e.g. Visa, Insurance, Medical, Hydro, Phone Bills, etc. etc.). Within each green hanging folder are plain files that are labeled by year. I have 2004-2011 (e.g. 7 plain files within each green hanging folder). Each year, I take out the oldest plain file out of each category and send it for shredding.

On the topic of shredding. What do you shred? How careful are you with paper that has your full name and mailing address? I’d love to know.

This system took quite a while to organize, but man does it ever feel good now that it is done! I even used my label maker to do it–it’s sweet 🙂 Amazing how excited I can get over filing bills, etc. I’m SO pathetic!

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12 Responses to Tackle It Tuesday: Paperwork Organization (bills etc.)

  1. Kathleen says:

    What a timely post! I just switched from one big filing cabinet to two small ones and all my files are all over the place and I keep putting off reorganizing them and putting them away.

    I used to be good at organizing papers, but not anymore. Thanks for some great tips.

  2. I try to shred things as soon as the come through the door. Bills get shredded right away. lol, that sounds bad. Anything with our name gets shredded right away too.

    Your system is fantastic. I must get organized like that.

  3. we have a big filing cabinet in the basement too. we shred old bills, but sometimes we just rip things up cause we are lazy lol

  4. MommyMatter says:

    I have started doing little plastic organizing buckets to help organize myself a little better. Paper seems to stock pile if I ignore it for a few days.

    For my recipes, I started a blog and I put all my recipes on there and can access them all easily on my iPad. Still a new method, but so far it is working.

  5. PLEASE do my house next!!!! 😀
    I am totally unorganized. I have stuff crammed in a binder, i still need to actually file it in the protecter-thingies..
    The mr has a much more organized filing system, but he also has crap scattered all over his desk in need of filing…

  6. Sober Julie says:

    Mark my name on the list of people you’re going to do this for…

  7. C says:

    Do you want to come over and help me sort through my stuff? 🙂 I’ll feed you supper. No, seriously. I will. LOL!

  8. Gingermommy says:

    I wish I was more organized. I have piles and baskets and boxes full of papers and reports and pictures and, well you get the picture 🙂

  9. Great tips, we have a terrible time with papers, I thought we were suppose to live in a paperless society! 🙂

  10. Shari G says:

    Hubby has a filing cabinet in his office, with our more current files. When it gets too full, then he moves it to the storage room in bankers boxes. We keep all documents (bills included) at least 7 years. We do sometimes forget to clear them out after that point, and have them longer. When we got married, hubby had things much longer than that!

  11. MS Do says:

    Great minds think alike. I have two sets of files. I have a large file cabinet in my garage that has EVERY tax return that I’ve EVER filed! I did purge my old bills a few years ago.

  12. I totally hear you on this one Amanda. I like your tip of only touching a piece of paper once.

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