I think the most chaotic situations in our homes always involve paper! Health insurance plan changes that come in the mail monthly, auto insurance plan changes and upgrades, medical health billing statements, lab results, referrals, new HSA and insurance cards and coverage plan statements; don’t even get me started on taxes…AAAHHH! Its enough to make you go insane! Its easy to loose track of whats current and whats out of date; what should be kept or tossed; should we shred this or wait a few months…or years?
I was beyond fed up with the accumulation of small piles of unsorted mail that just kept multiplying on our kitchen counter. Eventually I would get frustrated and just shove it in a drawer or throw it away, only to realize later that I NEEDED that! And the wild goose chases and arguments about “The last time I saw it…” begins. Finally I said NO MORE! Not this year!
So I went on a hunt for a Frugal, Functional, and Festive way to organize our files. And guess what? It cost me a whopping $3 (insert happy dance)! The trick is to USE WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE…just make it better 🙂 I had a lovely light blue, leather like, hanging file organizer that I purchased way back in 2007 when we were planning our wedding. It has cute handles and functions like a purse so I can transport it all around the house. I was in need of new file folders…… so down to the Dollar Tree I drove.
I bought two backs of manila file folders and a roll of blue and white stripped washi tape. If you haven’t heard of washi tape. Washi tape used for embellishing scrapbooks or whatever else you want to add some Festiveness too. Those boring manila file folders were instantly upgraded with some cuteness by just placing some washi on the file taps. I only needed one hanging file folder (which I already had on had) to store the manila files in. By placing the washi tape on the tabs, Im able to write on the tabs and then when I need to re-categorize, I can easily remove the tape label and apply a new piece of tape. So for three glorious dollars I have twenty super cute, reusable file folders (happy dance ensues)!
These are my file categories:
Important documents(Marriage License, Birth Certificates, Social Security Cards)
Auto (Insurance Policy, Car insurance bill, Maintenance and Repairs)
Medical (One for each family member)
Home (Mortgage, Insurance, HOA, Maintenance and Repairs)
Utilities (Cell Phones, Internet, Water, Gas and Electric)
One file for each bill (AMEX, BestBuy, SallieMae)
January Bills Payed (where each bill goes once it is payed. This folder goes into our master files in our office and are kept for a year)
I only keep copies of important documents in this file system. Actual licenses, certificates etc.are stored in a safe.
This filing system stays in our kitchen command center so we can easily access it for filing mail as it comes in and for quick bill payments by phone. Now they are easily categorized and sorted and are available for reference quickly.
Hope this has been helpful in motivating you to take control of your paper clutter and start the new year off right!