My Annual File Pile

So guess what time it is?  Yep it’s time to do my yearly filing.  I went back on my blog to see when I had last done it and it was March of last year.  So I didn’t quite make it a full year BUT back in September when I re-organized my office I went down to a smaller filing basket because it’s what fit in the new space.  So here’s what it looks like as of today.  Piled to the top means time to file.

Okay okay so it might be slightly over my limit but I’m on it.  Today’s the day!  I’m re-publishing my post from last year (below) as the technique I use to get it all done is still exactly the same!!

filing pile 2013

 from March 14, 2012

I hate filing. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

I hate the long term filing (not necessarily the day to day stuff).

So how do I get around not doing a job I don’t love.

I only file once a year.

There I said it.

And yesterday was that day.

When I mentioned this to my sister she told me “gosh you must have one huge basket!”. The truth of the matter is I don’t. I just don’t keep a lot of stuff.

Here is my file basket full after one year.

This basket is 5 inches deep. This is what it looks like outside of the basket:

Not too bad. My strategy is this….I file when the basket is full. Easy as that. Just so happens it takes about a year to fill it up. Works for me!

Ahhh you’ve got to love baskets that provide limits and boundaries. Makes life so much easier.

Now like I said I don’t keep a lot of stuff. Most things for only a year and then 7 years for the tax stuff. Of course this will be different for everyone depending on your financial situation. For more information on how long you should keep your financial records please visit this post for some helpful links.

So how do I organize my file pile for the filing cabinet? Spread out on my bed while watching TV of course! House Hunters anyone?

And then into the filing cabinet it goes:


My main point in telling you this is. I know it doesn’t seem rationale and not something that would work for everyone depending on the amount of papers kept however it is what works for me. There are no set in stone rules for organizing. Of course there are general guidelines like have a home for everything and don’t buy your containers first but other than that it’s all about organizing your way. I was watching Kathie Lee and Hoda the other day and Hoda admitted to using her oven for clothes storage. Absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. If you aren’t using it for cooking you might as well use it for something.

Do what works for you!!

(see also: Your way is not wrong if…)

How often do you file? Are you a file as you go type of girl or a wait awhile to file type of girl? Do you have a boundary in place so you know when it’s time?


Filed under: Office, Paper Organization


19 Responses to My Annual File Pile

  1. 2
    Melissa says

    It is time to file for me as well! But I am working on a better way to manage it. I’m looking for a scanner to start scanning bills into electronic files and to eliminate the giant file cabinet of paperwork I don’t even need. It will happen. Soon. Good luck with your pile!

  2. 3
    Making Our Life Matter says

    Okay, if I send you my address, will you please come do mine? I’ll make you dinner and dessert!

  3. 4
    Laura Jane @ Super Sweet Life says

    It’s beyond time for me to file as well! My basket is completely full. I totally love your once-a-year method. I shred everything that I can and do everything that I can on-line. Therefore, I really don’t have that many papers, and it’s really easier just to do them every once in a while. However, this year I really need to re-do my entire file structure so that will take longer (and is probably why I’m still putting it off.)

  4. 5
    Candice says

    I love organizing and filing while watching a fun show! It hardly seems like work at all!

  5. 6
    Sinea says

    I feel so much better now. Once a year is about what happens in this house, though my aspirations were for greater frequency. Thanks for telling it like it is! :)
    Sinea from Ducks ‘n a Row

  6. 7
    Sabrina says

    I like to go through my to file bin, twice a month when I do bills. I review my in bin once a week usually on Fridays. It helps me see what I need to do the next week. Thanks for sharing. We are not alone in the process.

  7. 8
    Jill Robson says

    I file as soon as something comes into the house. I don’t do my husbands, we decided this years ago( you do not want to see his pile). I pay all the bills and as most of them are paperless i don’t have that much to file.

  8. 9
    Heidi says

    I do the once-a-year method, also, and was actually considering tackling the project today. I’m also ready to change the system, and am contemplating either acquiring a file cabinet (so papers are filed immediately upon receipt) and/or going with something like ”Neat Desk” (Clark Howard loves this) and scanning the docs. A file cabinet would be an immediate fix; scanning sounds like it might take longer to accomplish the task. Caught between old and new technology.

  9. 10
    Becky L says

    My system for monthly bills is that when I pay the mortgage, which is the first bill of the month, I put the bill back into that envelope after it’s paid (online through my bank.) Then the rest of the month, I take out each bill paid of it’s envelope and when It’s paid then it goes into 1st envelope that has mortgage payment in it. and so on. The envelope has the month and year on it and when month is over, bills paid, it gets filed in a drawer in my desk. After bills are 6 mo old, they get shredded. I keep tax bills in same drawer, in behind the bills. That’s my system and it works for me. All the envelopes and extra papers inside the bills get recycled.

  10. 11
    Marianne says

    For an organising junkie you have a lot of junk!

    • 11.1
      Marianne says

      Sorry, that’s a bit harsh. Just looking for some inspiration on blogs like this, a bit disappointing

    • 11.2
      Laura says

      Honestly for a year’s worth of filing my pile is pretty small, nothing to be ashamed about at all.

      • Marianne says

        Well, perhaps not. I do my filing monthly and do not see myself as very organised.

  11. 12
    Crystal says

    Don’t hate me but….I love to file. It gives me a sense of organization and accomplishment. So I do file everyday :)

  12. 13
    Sharla @ Slacker Saver says

    I tend to take care of my filing while I’m gathering everything for taxes (so, about now). I don’t have a good filing cabinet or system and am looking for ideas, so thanks for the picture here. I don’t keep much either, but I tend to have all my stuff in three separate places around the house, ugh. I try to keep one old bill for everything in case I need to look up an account number or such, but I don’t keep much else that isn’t tax-related.

  13. 14
    Stacey says

    I file exactly the same way! Sitting on my bed watching HGTV. I don’t think there is anything wrong with filing once a year. I bet you know where to find what you need, that is organization to me.

  14. 15
    Pam says

    I am afraid I would never, ever file. lol
    I am going to contemplate filing each season. But I run a choir, so I do need to file a little bit of music every now and then.


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