Org Series #3: Organize your mental life with a filing system

Saturday, July 19, 2014

It took me far too long in my adult life to admit that I really needed to establish a filing system and file things away.  Maybe this is because I didn't realize I could do it in a cute way.  Or maybe it's because it just seemed too overwhelming or not worth the time.  Or I didn't have the time.  I don't know.  I finally did it this summer, though, and I am so glad.

 I had all my student loan docs, the marriage license, and some random tax receipts in piles in various places to pull out before April 15 and every so often when I would think to ask for a reimbursement from my FSA health account, but we definitely missed some charitable deductions and everything was way more of a hassle because I didn't immediately know where all my documents were.  But, the biggest downside to not having a filing system is all the days those bills sit on my desk waiting for me to finally go through them and whip out the checkbook.  That entire time, they are cluttering my desk and staring at my face.

I finally spent a few hours sorting through my years of papers, throwing away the ones I don't need anymore, and organizing everything into filing folders.  My folders are heavily weighted toward healthcare folders because healthcare is such a big part of our lives.  I have our basic insurance folder, our bills folder, our referrals folder, our prescription folder, bills waiting to submit to my FSA account folder, and so on.  Then, I have a charitable donations folder, other tax docs folder, a folder of records, a folder for Texas Bar Association documents, etc. etc. Basically, I made a folder for every type of document that ever crosses my desk that I want to save.

The most important folder, is my "deal with this" folder, which houses everything I need to handle this week.  Just having created these folders is a huge weight off of my mind.  I know where everything is and every time I get something new in the mail, it has a place.

(These folders are so cute!)

If you haven't taken the time to put together a filing system, start small.  Get a box that can house some hanging file folders, get some hanging folders with tabs,  (You can even buy erasable tabs!  I resisted.  Barely), grab a sharpie and go to town.  If the task seems too big, just start small.  I did not finish all my filing organization in one day.  It becomes so much easier once you start though and it is such a load off your mind knowing where everything is and having an immediate, organized place to put new mail that you can't deal with "right this second," but know you need to save or deal with later.

One p.s. type-tip: Just get a paper shredder that shreds credit cards.  I am blessed with a husband who is security-oriented as I am not.  He insisted we get a paper shredder and I thought it was kind of extravagant.  It's not.  Put it on your savings list, birthday list, Christmas list.  Now that we have the shredder and I can easily shred things, I realize how many things really contain sensitive information and should be shredder.  In this day and age, we need to do everything we can to protect our identity and credit.  You want to get those credit card applications and old credit cards shredded.  Having a good shredder is the fastest way to safely remove that pile of junk mail.  Btw: turns out we have an extra shredder, so if you'd like one and live in Houston or are willing to help us pay to ship it to you...

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