I haven’t organized my filing system in at least a couple of years. But, I think the last time I did, I wasn’t very productive with it. There were old papers from 2000 that I totally didn’t need. Anyways, I did it today, and its done! Wheew.
Before I began, the hanging folders were bulging at the seams, nothing was in order, and most of it was just out-dated trash.
Wonder if I could fit anything else in this one?
Here are the old hanging folders. Can you see why I wanted to buy new?
At least my desk was clean!
1. First things first… If you like pretty, go out and buy new hanging folders. I like pretty! Get all of the supplies you may need before starting… i.e. Hanging file folders, labeler, manilla folders, a babysitter.
Ahhh… much better lighting. I took these upstairs in my kitchen. The other pictures are taken in the dark basement.
2. Schedule in 2-3 hours for this project with no interuptions & no kids! (It took me 2.5 hours to complete).
3. Put on some music. This will help with the impatience of wanting to get it done. I listened to a Josh Groban CD.
4. Start with purging all un-necessary papers. I really mean go through EVERY peice of paper. Toss what you dont need. You’ll be amazed at what you throw out. (This will take the longest, but you can do it!). Remember to shred personal information.
*You should keep tax records for 7 years.
Do not toss
These are permanent members of your financial paperwork family, which you may need to retrieve occasionally. Essential records such as birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, Social Security cards, and military discharge papers should be kept in a safe-deposit box. Here are some other documents you should hold on to forever:
Defined-benefit plan documents
Keep pension-plan documents from your current and former employers. Store them in your file cabinet.
Keep copies of wills, trusts, and powers of attorney in your safe-deposit box. You should also make sure your attorney and your executor have copies. It’s also a good idea to give your primary-care physician and anyone named to make decisions on your behalf copies of your health-care proxy.
For permanent life insurance—policies that have a cash value or investment component—keep documents and a list of the companies that issued them and their phone numbers in your safe-deposit box. If you have a term life policy, hold the documents until the term is over, then toss them.
Safe-deposit box inventory
Note the location of the box and your keys, and keep a list of what you have in it. Update the list once a year or as you add or remove documents. Keep the inventory list in your out-of-the way file cabinet. You should also keep photocopies at home of any documents you have stored in the box in case you need to refer to them.
5. There should not be anything in the filing cabinet at this point. Hang your new folders.
My favorite tool in the house. The Labeler!
6. Now you can get out your labeler (or a good pen if you dont have a labeler). I paid only $17 at Target for my Dymo Letratag. They are worth the investment. Trust me! Label all categories and stick them on the file folder. These will be the main categories. Make sure to alphabetize your hanging folder. Its much easier when you go to find something.
Examples of Main Categories:
Bank Accts.LoansHealth RecordsPets HomeWarranties & ManualsCredit CardsInvestments
InvestmentsHere is an example of a category & sub categories.
7. Now get out the manilla folders and place however many you will need in each hanging folder… for your sub categories. (An example of this is Main Category- Banks & Sub Category- Chase & PNC). Also, alphabetize the sub categories within each hanging folder.
Examples of Sub Categories:
Specific Banks: Chase, Key Bank, PNC, etc.
Specific Insurance: Home, Life, Auto
Specific Utilities: Gas, Electric, Water, Phone, Cable
Specific Health Records: Dad, Mom, Kids
Student loans: His, Hers
I think you get the picture here.
8. Now, have at it. Start filing! Its as easy as that!
The completed project
You will be so proud of yourself after you have completed such a task. Your life will be much simpler. Make no excuses to get started. This project only cost me $27.14.Linked up to these great parties:
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