So I have a confession to make and I’ll only tell you if you promise not to tell my mother. It’s a biggie. Are you ready? Here goes:
I didn’t file one time last year! Not once. My mom will be horrified but we aren’t telling her so it will be fine. Except she reads my blog so I’m pretty sure I’m going to hear about it :)
The reason I put the filing cabinet first on the monthly round-up list was because mine really needed to be done. Here’s my “to file” basket that normally resides on top of my filing cabinet:
That is a years worth of filing. The basket is only 4.5 inches deep. Not too bad if I do say so myself. I had to check my blog to find out exactly when it was I had filed last and believe it or not it was Nov 2007. You can read that post and find out a little more about my system here. In a nutshell, I put my paper filing into the basket and when the basket is full I file it away. Because I don’t hang onto a lot of paper it takes awhile for the basket to fill up hence the once a year filing :)
Last night I sat down on the floor in the living room with my basket, turned on my taped Regis and Kelly, and tackled the pile. First I sort it into subjects…like with like….all the phone bills together, all the bank statements together, etc. It took me exactly 20 minutes to do the sort, I know this because Regis and Kelly’s Host Chat was just finishing up when I was done :) Then the filing is the easy part really. It simply consists of pulling what’s in the cabinet and replacing it with the new information. In most cases (bills and statements particularly) I only keep a years worth of information.**
I’m not advocating this once a year filing for everyone. In fact I’m going to try and set a goal to do it at least twice a year from now on. This just happens to be a system that is working for me, so I don’t want to mess with it too much. Using baskets to set boundaries and limits is an ongoing theme in my life so why would this area of my life be any different.
Now I thought I’d give you a run down of the way I have my filing cabinet set up. My filing cabinet is two drawers but I only use the bottom one. The top one is my husbands and I don’t even open that one…it’s a little scary :)
I have eleven main categories identified by a main tab and in hanging file folders and then each of the sub categories are divided with manila file folders that are clearly labeled.
So my categories (I’ve listed the sub categories in brackets) look like this:
House (Purchase Info, Mtg Info, Assessments/Property Tax)
Taxes (sub divided by year)
Bank Statements (Chequing, Savings, Credit Line)
Investments (RSPs, RESPs)
Bills (Phone, Gas, Hydro, Cable)
Van (Purchase Info, Repairs)
Insurance (House, Van, Medical)
Employment (Resume, Contracts, Paystubs)
Misc (Subscriptions, Aeroplan, Airmiles, Medic Alert, etc.)
Travel (sub divided by location)
Note: my product manuals are filed separately using this system.
Check out my filing cabinet makeover.
That’s about it. Again, this is just one way of doing it. I’m hoping over the next couple of weeks to introduce other great filing systems to you in order to give you some ideas to help you come up with the system that is just right for you.
I don’t want to end this post without forgetting to tell you what our very first prize of the year will be. I’m very excited to tell you that if you participate in January’s Filing Cabinet Round-Up at the end of the month, you will be eligible to win a great product called Scanalog. You may even remember this product from a giveaway I did last year. In case you aren’t familiar with it here is a little more about it.
SCANALOG is a CD-ROM software system you can use to store, catalog and retrieve your favorite articles from your favorite magazines. There are eleven Master Categories in Scanalog that cover a range of women’s interests, from Home Decoration to Gardening to My Spirit. Basically it means you scan in all those magazine clippings you have lying around and categorize them to be able to find what you need whenever you need it with a simple click of the mouse. Fantastic!
Interested in joining the challenge, more information is here.
Don’t forget to take a picture of your paper piles before you get started and have a great weekend!
** Please be sure to follow the appropriate government guidelines in your area for how long to keep documents.