"The best times you are going to have in life are at the dinner table and in bed." Old Italian saying. So relax, and enjoy the simple things!


Filing 101: Get Your Papers Organized #Simple Living in Practice

Files: Simple Living and Eating

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) 

Bills Paid: In the bills paid folder I only keep the previous months and shred the month before when a new bill comes in. I've changed to electronic billing for all the bills I can get on line to keep filing down. I keep a folder in my email box and keep the statements for a month there also.

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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  1. Could you just please come over and do this for me? ;) You would be ASHAMED if you saw the stacks of paper I call filing. When I need to actually find something, I have to dig through my three stacks to find it. I always know it's there (somewhere), but it takes a while to find anything. I would file it, but my filing boxes are stuffed full of ancient papers. I know I should shred them, but I already have a backlog of stuff to shred!

    This is a horrible sob story, I know. I need to make a huge box of shredables and take them to Office Depot or wherever takes bulk for shredding. Then I could start fresh. I will try to tackle that project soon, but it might be a new year's resolution! I'll pin this to remember what to do when i get around to it :)

    1. Do you have any kids around you can pay to shred? When I have a lot to do I bribe my daughter to help. I try to go through my stack of papers weekly, usually at some time on Saturday. If you can make it part of your weekly schedule... it's hard. Good luck.

    2. I have a file cabinet and I need to purge a lot of old bills and manuals of equipment and appliances we no longer have.

    3. Good luck to you. It feels really good to get rid of papers you don't need.


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