Finding a filling system that works for you and your family is like finding a needle in a haystack. However I would love to show you our system and hopefully you can take something from it that you can use in yours.
I find that the best way to start is to follow the paper trail. Where does the paper start to pile up? It could be your kitchen bench, office, or in our case it was my mini office.
The first thing I did was to go through that stack. Shred or throw away everything that you can and sort the rest into categories.
Then you need to come up with a mail catcher, somewhere for all that paper to go when it enters your home. I found this super cute condiments caddy at Howard’s Storage World and thought it would be perfect.
I made dividers out of card stock to go inside the caddy and thought about what categories made most sense to us. I came up with:
- And one file for each family member
The caddy is stored inside the top of my mini office, which is right next to the kitchen. When mail comes in, it is really easy to sort it into its appropriate files and bin or shred what we don’t need.
Once a fortnight when we do our budget I take out the mail catcher and binder and move everything across. If it is something that is yet to be dealt with, it stays in the mail catcher so we don’t forget about it.
In the front of my annual filling binder I have a hole punch and a pen. Then I have the following categories:
- Bank Statements
- And again a file for each family member
Everything in this binder stays in there for the whole year, that way it is really easy if we need to reference anything. At the beginning of the year I go through the binder. Anything that we don’t keep for longer than 12 months is shredded, this includes bank statements and utility bills. All this information is readily available online should we ever need it.
*If you plan on following our system please talk to your financial advisor about what documents you should or should not keep.
Any documents that we need to keep then go into our long term filling system. We use a plastic file box with hanging files. When I move our paper work from the binder to the file box, I also have a quick look through the box and make sure we still need everything. Then I file the rest of the documents. I use similar categories as I do in our binder, I also have a file for each tax year.
All our important documents such as birth and marriage certificates, insurance details, deed to the house, a copy of our will and a list of all our bank and loan details are kept in a plastic file box in our mini office. Should we ever have an emergency and need to leave our home, it is all there in an easy to find location.
So there you have it, our whole filling system in one super long post. I hope this helps you to reduce some of the paper clutter in your home.
Where in your home does the paper start to pile up? I would love to hear how your filling system works.