A Different Way To Do Filing

It’s time for another mom tip! I am so thankful for all of my friends and my family who have given me wisdom and advice over the years. Some wisdom and/or advice has become a staple in our home, and other advice has not. It didn’t make the advice wrong necessarily. The advice usually just didn’t work for myself or for our family. So, this blog is geared towards giving you something that works for me, and if it works for your family then that is great too!

I have said it before, and I will say it again.  Papers are my biggest challenge in my home.  I can never seem to get ahead of it.  They just keep coming through the mail, through the kids, through church, etc.  So, whenever I see a tip regarding papers, I usually try it to see if it will work for me.  I will take all the help and suggestions I can to try to get all this paper under control.

I read a book last year entitled It’s All Too Much by Peter Walsh.  He gave a lot of good tips in the book, but it still did not compare to The House That Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark.  However, in the book by Peter Walsh, he did give a really good tip for filing.

My usual way of filing would be to do the bills and then file all of the paperwork in the file cabinet in a folder with the name of the company.  Even worse, I might start a filing pile (because who has time to file), and the pile would build up for six months.  Not a pretty sight.

Over the years, I noticed we had to get a bigger filing cabinet.  Why?  The file cabinet was like a roach motel.  The papers checked in, but they didn’t check out.  If I hardly had time to file the papers in the first place, did I really have time to purge the old papers out of the filing cabinet every year?

This is the point that Peter Walsh makes in the book.  The file cabinet can be an abyss so make sure everything you put in there is going to need to stay in there for awhile.  In other words, only file the important documents you might need for taxes, important vehicle documents, credit reports, wills, etc.

His suggestion was to get an accordion folder labeled with the months of the year on the tabs which I did.  All the bills I had from subscriptions, charity donations, utility bills, car repairs, etc. went into the accordion file under the month in which it was paid.  At the end of the year, I went through my accordion folder and figured out what needed to be filed in the filing cabinet and what could be shredded or recycled.

Last year was the first year I started this process.  I might have had 30-50 sheets of paper in each month of my accordion file folder.  The only documents I kept to file were tax documents, vehicle registrations, mortgage statements, or other important documents.  Things which were in the shred pile were utility statements, bank statements, or any other miscellaneous bills which had been paid.  For more on what to shred and what to keep visit Dave Ramsey’s website.

Out of hundreds of sheets of paper, I ended up with a stack of only about 30-40 papers for the whole year that were important enough to go into the file cabinet and be filed.  I was sold on this process, and that is how I do my papers now.

I am still overwhelmed by papers, but this has made my filing process less work and more streamlined.  Every little bit helps.