Day 12: Household Filing System
Paper clutter can be overwhelming. Piles of paper tend to multiply and take over the best organizational intentions. To conquer it, you need a simple household filing system.
Setting up a filing system gives paper piles a home. It also allows you to find important documents at a moments notice. A retrieval or archival repository.
The key to success? Purge, categorize and file.
3 Kinds of Files
Daily or weekly use files. Usually kept in an expandable file, a tabletop file box or rack and contain action items. Action items would include; bills, short-term works in progress, correspondence and so on.
Medium-term filing. These documents should be kept in a file cabinet, office desk drawer or cabinet. Working files would include; employment records, employment benefits, insurance records, bill statements, bank statements, working tax files (archived after 3 years), medical information, home maintenance, receipts, manuals and warranties, education information such as transcripts, diplomas, etc. and an inventory of your safe deposit box.
Long-term filing that may be kept in a safe, a bank safe deposit box or other secure location. These documents would include; income tax returns, real estate documents and receipts, insurance policies, automobile documents, and warranties.
For more information on what to keep in files, visit publications.usa.gov
A Filing System
Color-code the household filing system. Color-coded files are visual labels that increase efficiency both in filing and retrieving. A well-organized filing system is one that allows you to retrieve the information you need as quickly and easily as possible. To keep it simple, consider buying color-coded hanging files to organize information into 5 unique categories that might look like this:
• Green – Financial
• Red – Medical
• Yellow – Insurance
• Orange – Personal Files
• Blue – House Files
Common File Categories
Automobile: maintenance records, repairs, lease statements, warranties.
Banking: banking files for all accounts.
Bills and loans: split into either category or by name of payee.
Health and healthcare: bills, individual family health records, and so on.
Housing: mortgage files, repairs, receipts.
Insurance: set up by name of insurer or by category – Homeowners, Life, Automobile.
Valuables: appraisals, inventories and so on.
The office area is so important that we’ve split it up into 4 days as follows:
• Day 11: The Office
• Day 12: Creating a Filing System (today)
• Day 13: Organizing Important Papers and Original Documents
• Day 14: Creating a Mail Station
Objective: Create a household filing system to eliminate paper clutter, easily access important documents and efficiently manage information.
• Identify locations for filing systems and create spaces for 3 types of files: action, working and archival.
• Sort existing paper and files into categories that make sense for your lifestyle. Ideas: financial, medical, insurance, vehicles, household, education etc.
• As you come across original documents (birth, marriage certificates, titles, estate files, and so on), scan for a backup digital file.
• Purge and shred all unnecessary paper.
• Sort paper and documents into labeled files and put in place.
Organizing Important Papers and Original Documents
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