Thursday, July 31, 2014

Organizing Files

Over the weekend, I decided to organize our file system. Originally I thought I wanted to use binders for our documents, but that sounded like a system that was too difficult to keep up with. So I decided to go and purchase some colorful hanging folders from Walmart. It was only like $5 for a pack of 25 folders so that was doable.

Then came the hard part. I took our current system and went through all the paperwork that we had kept through the years. Most of it was since we got married, but there was still some from when we were in high school. I found some information on what to keep/throw away when it comes to important documents.We followed the following rules for how long to keep documents. This information can be found here.
-Bank Statements: Keep for one year.
-Important Documents: Such as marriage license, social security cards, passports, etc. Keep Forever.
-Credit Card Records: Keep until paid.
-Home Purchase and Improvement Records: Keep as long as you own the property.
-Insurance, Car, Home, Life: Keep until you renew.
-Investment Statements: Shred monthly, Keep Annual.
-Tax Records: Keep for 7 years.
-Vehicle Title: Keep until you sell or dispose of car.

Using those rules we were able to get rid of the majority of our paperwork. I always felt like I should keep bank statements and credit card statements, but these days most of that can be found online so there is no reason to keep it.

We also bought a shredder that just sits on top of a garbage can so that we can shred all our documents. It was a cheap little shredder, but it will get done what we need.
Since I had a few different colors to work with, I color coded different categories.
Blue: Banking & Investments. All the statement and important information regarding our different accounts.
Red: House & Auto. Information on our house, rental info, current apartment and auto/home insurance.
Yellow: Medical & Pets. Insurance, medical info and vet visits.
Green: Miscellaneous. Anything else that did not fit in the above categories.
We also have a mail system on our main level for the daily mail that we get. I hate having piles of paperwork everywhere (I blame my dad for that) so I made this system a long time ago. I changed out a few of the folders so that it is more efficient now. We have a "take action" folder where I stash anything that needs to be taken care of. The rest of the folders are for filing or shredding depending on what the mail is. This temporary system works for us because otherwise our paperwork would probably sit around until it came time to file the documents.
This project took me much longer than I had originally anticipated. I am glad that we now have a go-to system that will hopefully keep us organized. There is nothing more frustrating than needing to find a document and having to look through a bunch of paper work before finding it. So far I love it and bright colors makes everything more fun!

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