Welcome to Part 1 of a two-part series on My Extremely Thorough Home Filing System! I hope this series helps you keep your paperwork under control and gives your life some order!
Want to jump to Part 2? Click here.
It may not look like much, but this blue folder is my life. I would probably be lost without it. Life would go on, but I would be crazy disorganized for quite a while. :)
This is not a homemaking binder, it's just a big folder that holds important stuff-- receipts, pay stubs, our lease, insurance information, car information, etc.
I have a separate homemaking binder that is for household information-- cleaning, organizing, etc. That will be covered another day!
Want to make one for yourself? Here's what you "need" (I put quotes because you don't really need anything, just adapt for what you have on hand):
:: Some sort of folder/file cabinet. I like the ones that close and can be carried/moved around. I have a Martha Stewart one from Staples that cost about $9. You can easily get them from Target for about $3.
:: Some files. I'd say about 7-12.
That's it! See, it's really simple. It can be as thorough and decorative or plain and simple as you want it to be. (As you can see I went the "decorative" route as first and then changed to "simple" when I ran out of folders). It doesn't matter-- the only person who will see this folder is you!
First things first you need to figure out what is going in your folder. Get organized. Take your time and try to figure out what you want in it and how you want it displayed and separated.
Next you need to label your dividers. As you can see my first one is Pay Stubs. I then have two folders in the particular section because we each work-- they are labeled Nathan and Elizabeth.
My other dividers are: Banking (That is not separated with each of our names because we have a joint account), Receipts, Dogs, Misc. Papers (Two folders for Nathan and Elizabeth), Product Manuals, Gift Cards, Return Labels, Apartment Info. (With divider folders for: Lease, Comcast, and Renters Insurance), and Transportation (With divider folders for Nissan Sentra and Metro Cards).
As you can see, my folder is completely stuffed. I'm afraid to admit it, but I think I'll have to move to an actual file cabinet very soon.
After your dividers are labeled, start plopping papers in their designated area. This is the easiest part and probably the most fun. :)
In another post, I'll go over in detail what is in each divider and how I keep this folder clean and neat.
*Please remember that this is the system that works for me. This system may not work for you and your family. You have to do what's best for you and if it's not this, by all means-- try another way!