I don't know if it's because I used to be a teacher, or maybe it's because I worked in a Jewish school, and their New Year is coming up... but September to me is a time to get organized and clear clutter.
I have so many forms to fill out for my children before school starts that I got focused today on my filing cabinet. I made new files and cleared out paper that I no longer need. My system works really well for me, so I thought I would share it with you.
1) Save only what you can't get on line. Confirmation notices, bills for one month prior, articles you clipped from a magazine etc.
2) Make broad categories for your files. I find that I am more likely to file something if I don't have to think too much about where to put it. For example, I have a file: "House" in it I put decorating ideas along with paint swatches of colors we have, any contractor receipts etc. If I really had a lot of things in one of these categories I subdivide it. For instance, I have a separate file for "Kitchen" because I have a lot of information about it from when we remodeled. So other broad categories you might consider using are:
Activities: Any forms or directions to my kids sports or after school activities.
To Buy: If I see something in a magazine that I might want to buy for someone in my family for Christmas or their birthday I tear out the page and put it in this file.
Bank: All account information, the previous month's statement only (shred each month) any loan or mortgage information
Bills to Pay:
(Important to keep these separate)
Car: I keep all repair statements along with insurance info for both of mine and my husband's cars in one folder.
Medical Records: Immunization records, claims not reimbursed, etc. All in one folder
Instructions for Small Appliances and Large Appliances. You can get a lot of these on line, but not always. I have 2 files because of the number of items. Whenever I look for instructions I toss out any ones that I come across for items that we no longer own.
Save: Try not to over use this file, but if you don't want to lose a piece of paper and you can't figure out in that moment where to put it. I put it into my "Save" folder. Periodically I go through this and file papers into other folders, but it is better than losing an important piece of information.
School: I have a separate file for school information for each child. So when I need to reread the instructions for their field trip etc I just grab it out of their individual file.
Taxes: I keep any receipts that I will need to file taxes for that coming year along with a separate file for each year going back 3 years.
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