This post has been a while in the making. I’ve actually had the photos on my computer since J and I filed our taxes but never got around to writing it. However, a conversation with mama today reminded me about it. This is my very simple, very compact filing system.
I hate clutter and junk, which includes mail. When it comes in to our house, it immediately gets opened. It then gets sorted into three piles: garbage, shred, or things to deal with. Garbage goes straight into the can, I keep the stuff to deal with in the back of my remote caddy and our paper to shred goes into a Rubbermaid container. It lives on a shelf below J’s desk. It’s an easy way to keep it separate and once the box is full we bring out the shredder and get rid of all the paper.
Everything that needs to be kept is in a blue tub from Staples, which also lives on a shelf behind J’s shelf. The first section is for our bills. I have one file for every month and at the start of each month I move that month’s folder to the front. When I move it to the front I put the old bills that are in it in the shred bin. Once a bill is paid for the month I put it in the folder. I like this way better than sorting by company (such as electricity, gas, etc) because I know I always have a year and only a year filed away.
Behind that are our other files. They include things such as employment information (paystubs), insurance, vet records, mortgage, etc. Basically, anything I need to keep has a file of its own. Over time, the ones I use more often have moved forward and the ones I use less are towards the back, but that was not intentional. There's no rhyme or reason to the colours of the files. I just used what I had.
Last but not least, and the reason I started thinking about writing this post, are our income tax files. J and I each have our own separate files. Any time we have any papers that need to be claimed, such as donation receipts, I put them in the folder. At income tax time it’s easy to get them all together. When I mail them to the accountant I take a photocopy of them, put them in an envelope, and label them with the year. Once we receive our statements I also put those in the envelopes. I’m not sure how long I’m supposed to keep the papers but I keep them for seven years; it seems like a nice length of time. Once an envelope is over seven years old, it gets put in the shred box.
There you have it. I’ve been using this system since I was in university and it really works for me. I like that it’s simple and organized but doesn’t take much time to keep up. I also love that it’s compact and easily accessible so it isn’t a chore to use.