This is my project this week. Take our old files and clean them out then re-file them into these new beautiful files. I have put it off for years. These cute little file boxes were on sale 75% off at www.franklincovey.com in December, the perfect opportunity. At least now I can look at something pretty while doing something boring.
Our lives have changed since the first system started. 11 years, 1 house, many moves, 3 children, 6 dogs (not all at once), cars, appliances, etc. have become part of our lives. All those things create paperwork, some to keep, shred, or recycle.
These are the files I have collected over the years. Each one different and added at a different time for a new activity.
Files should change with you. Many things are digital now so paper is less necessary but some things still require paper especially in the Army (marriage license, rabies vaccinations, birth certificates, power of attorney, wills, etc.).
This pile is full of old bills and receipts, past tax returns, equipment/appliance manuals available online, and paper that should go in a different location.
The first box now contains current receipts, medical records, insurance policies, dog’s health records and pedigrees, and a few hard to find manuals not online. This will also eventually contain homeschool records required by the state in the event we need to produce them.
The second box contains quilt patterns, decorating inspirations, and craft ideas. This changes with my mood and interests, so monthly.
The third box is room to grow. I wanted these boxes to last awhile so I bought one extra. Each box has room left in it so as we change our files will change with us, at least for awhile.
Your system should work with your lifestyle. I like to put them in categories according to how I work with them. I work on finances and important household information at the same time. Medical information also falls into that category but we are all healthy folks with no recurring/chronic issues. Our files are small. If you are different you should probably have your own file box filed alphabetically with nothing else. This is especially important if you often find yourself in the ER or running out the door to multiple doctor appointments.
This one from Buttoned Up looks useful and easy to transport.
I quilt and look at patterns at a completely separate time. Some times I produce the box for friends to rifle through for inspiration or fun.
Homeschool is a separate activity and has its own accordion file from Buttoned Up. This one was designed for a household of 3 children in public/private school. Since I have 3 boys, one in 2nd grade and one almost in kindergarten I found it useful for keeping their curriculum information separate. This is a file that will change annually with each school year. Each child individual tab pulls out so you can write on it. Very handy!
Testing records and legal documents for state requirements are kept with the other important documents in box 1. They will be updated and filed away hopefully never to be used. I occasionally send my son to retrieve documents out of the school file so it is important no irreplaceable/vital docs be kept here.
As you can see I have no files for my husband. He is gadget guy and has TONS of documents specific to the military. Each has a number letter combo and it confuses the heck out of me. He carries almost all of them with him daily on his PDA. He loves being paperless when he can. I am
Now why boxes and not a filing cabinet? Two reasons: we are Army and we have a small house. We will move. When we do I like to keep important documents with me, not locked on a truck driving across country or on a ship going overseas. Our house has no room for a filing cabinet. I would love one really but this is what works for us for now.
I hope you can find what works for you.
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