Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Complete Home Filing System

Complete Home Filing System 

I always tell my husband "when, not IF, I'm on 'Hoarders', there will be no dead cats or ceramic figurines,  it will be all papers and food."

I have a slight hoarding problem when it comes to paperwork. I'm terrified to throw anything away in case I need it someday. I go through all of my papers once a year to get rid of anything I no longer need and make room for a new year's worth of paper. I figure as long as I keep it all organized its not a problem. And I can't count the number of times I have saved the day by finding that old receipt or warranty information. Needless to say, I have a very thorough filing system.
home filing system

Keeping papers filed and organized is super easy, once you have a system that works for you. There is no one-size-fits-all file system that works for everyone. This system works great for me, but you may need to tweak it to fit your needs.

 My system,  of course, is color coded. I've mentioned before that everyone in my house is assigned a color, and everything from laundry baskets to dishes is that color. This makes my life so much easier!
home filing system

The Basics:

I have 12 main filing categories. All main categories are the basic green hanging folders, labeled in black.
 SMEAD Hanging Folders Green, Letter Size - 50ct
home filing system

file system

Each main category has multiple subcategories with color coded files, individually labeled in that color.
Pendaflex Two-Tone Color File Folders, Letter Size, 1/3 Cut, Assorted Colors, 100 Folders per Box (152 1/3 ASST)

color file system

For example,  I have a main category of "insurance", and in that folder there are five sub folders-one for each person in the family. We don't all have the same insurance plan, so this makes it easy to keep track of each person's plan and benefits.

The Colors:

Each person has their own color: dad is red, mom is orange, child A is blue, child B is green, child C is purple. Each topic also has a color: household is yellow, finances are navy, banking is maroon,  credit/loans is brown, and vehicles are teal. This system makes it easy to quickly find the file I'm looking for.
Avery Removable Labels, Rectangular, 1 x 3 Inch, White, Pack of 72 (06728)

home filing systemThe Details:My categories are as follows. You can add or delete categories to fit your situation.

Medical: mom, dad, child A, child B, child C
Insurance: mom, dad, child A, child B, child C
Vehicles: car registration, car maintenance, car insurance,  bike registration, bike maintenance, bike insurance
Bills: water, sewer, electric,  internet, phone, rent, etc
Credit: card 1, card 2, card 3, card 4, mom credit report, dad credit report
Finances: mom student loans, dad student loans, car loan, budget, financial goals, debts
Taxes: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011....down to 2007
Household: notebook copies, schedules, blog, receipts and warranties, babysitter information
School: mom, dad, A, B, C
VA: education benefits, disability, appointments
Banking: account 1, 2, 3, 4
Important Documents: mom, dad, A, B, C

Every piece of paper has a specific place. This helps eliminate paper clutter, ensures a safe place for all my documents, and makes it easy to find exactly what I need right away.

How To:

-Make a list of all the types of papers you want to keep. Shot records, school forms, birth certificates, insurance, warranties....you name it!
-Then split them up into categories that make sense to you. Perhaps everyone gets their own folder and all of their stuff goes in one place. Maybe you want a folder for each month to keep track of bills and finances. Decide what works for you.
-Pick out supplies to match your ideas. Do you need a hundred folders or only ten? What size and type of labels? There are endless possibilities, so take some time to design your setup and find products to meet your needs.
-Get to work! Label, label, label! The key to staying organized is having a place for everything and knowing where that is.
-Put it all together. Once your folders are labeled and everything is ready to go, start filing. If you come across something that doesn't have a place, make one. If you don't like something,  change it. Make your system work for YOU. 

Supplies I used, some of which I had on hand, the rest I bought at Office Depot.

This "project" is ongoing, as filing systems often require updating and revising as situations change. The total upfront investment for 225 folders, 3 sets of labels, and color pens was roughly $50. You could certainly buy smaller packages for less, or get basic colors for very cheap. I am just slightly anal about my color system, so I spent a bit more to get exactly what I needed, and a few extras so I can to it as needed.