Bills. Bank statements. Insurance explanations. More bills. Receipts. Tax records. Even more bills. The list goes on...and on...and on........
I think the list of papers that float through the door of my home could go on to infinity and beyond. Does it ever end? Unfortunately, I think we all know the answer to that question.
Since the pile of papers is never ending, it's important to have a method for managing all of the mail, important notices, and not-so-important information that makes its way onto our kitchen counters and dining room tables.
There are countless systems that people use. Some are simple. Some are complex. Personally, I've used quite a few different ideas over the years, but I've discovered an interesting phenomenon: A system only works if you actually use it. Crazy, right?
Like a moth to a flame, I tend to be drawn to complex, intricate organizational systems. That usually isn't a good thing. Over the past couple of years, I've been using what I thought was a pretty easy method for filing my bills and important papers. I had a single accordion file with sections labeled for each type of bill or paper that would likely need saved (ie. Utility Bills, Phone Bills, Bank Statements, etc.). All I needed to do was open the file, tuck away my mail or paid billing statement according to the appropriate category, and forget about it.
Still, even that simplistic method was too complex for me to use regularly. I'm not sure why, but it just wasn't working for me. When I realized that my "To File" box was shoved full of six months worth of papers, I decided I needed a new system. I'm quick like that.
My big brother came to my rescue with his filing system. It's not just simple; it's super simple. Here's how it works
- Label twelve file folders with the names of the months. I converted my accordion file.
- When an important paper or statement needs saved, plop it into that month's folder. That's right, just drop it in. No sorting. No waiting. No piles of papers needing to be filed.
- Next year, when you open the folder for a particular month, it will have this year's filed papers. Take those things out and either shred them or move them to long-term storage, if needed.
Someday soon I'll share a few ideas on how to deal with all of the mail and papers before they reach the "To File" box.
I'd love to hear from you. What method do you use for filing all of your must-save papers? Tell us about it in the comments!
This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday.