Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Home Organization 101: Simplifying the File Pile

Having been a stay-at-home-mom for exactly 5 months now, and feeling like only weeks ago I finally "got my groove back" - feeling like myself and (mostly) energetic enough to do something with my day in addition to playing mommy...I am starting with a little home organization, since it has sorta' fallen by the way-side during the initial "getting used to mommyhood" stage of my life.

Organization has always been a passion of mine, even though I am usually not especially neat about it.  I like things to have a place, I love lists, I want plans, I need order and structure.  I'm a "Messy Perfectionist".  And I`m taking small steps to get my life, my house, my brain into a more organized mess.  I`m still learning all of this stuff, but I figure we can all use a little help sometimes, so as I share tips and tricks that are working for me, I hope you`ll share tips that are working for you.

 I`ve decided to start with a spot that caused me a great amount of grief - the `File Pile.`
We used to do the filing by putting everything in its own file in the filing cabinet.  And by put everything away, I really mean stack it on top of the cabinet and try to ignore itThat stack was not-so-affectionately known as the File Pile...and the bigger it grew, the more I tried to ignore it.  Consistent ignoring of the File Pile leads to your small space looking like this:

One day while visiting my parents (who have satellite TV), I was watching "The Mom Show" and there was a segment with Peter Walsh, author of "Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?".  He suggested this simple filing system, and my goodness, is it working wonders for the file-pile stress in my life.

Here's How:
You'll Need: 1 accordian file
*optional: 12-13 file folders and labels

I used 13 folders and just used a sharpie to label my folders - sometimes simpler is better, I find.

Here's my stuff - I wrote "Stewart Family Files" on the front of my accordian file, just for clarity.

Then I wrote the month/year on 12 folders, and labeled one folder "Important Family Documents".

Let's start with the monthly system:  Each month, place the bills for that month in your file.
That's it.  File under month/year.  So Insurance, Cell Phone, Internet, everything is in one folder for that month.
Simple, right? 

After 12 months, you'll be back to your first folder - take JUST THAT MONTH, and sort through it - are there things you need to keep?  Did you look at it in the last 12 months?  If not - RECYCLE!  It's a myth that you have to keep every statement and receipt from every year of your life.

And now: "Important Family Documents" - I added this to Mr. Walsh's suggestions as a way to keep things like our marriage certificate, birth certificates, social insurance numbers (read: Social Security Numbers: Canadian Edition), passports, etc.  It also currently holds my college diploma, since I have misplaced the official holder and have yet to buy a frame for it.

The File Pile is a thing of the past - We still have the cabinet, for holding on to things like appliance manuals, car repair receipts, and those files we need to hold on to - tax forms and such, but the Family Files are tucked neatly beside the printer for easy access and peace of mind.

1 comment:

  1. This is a good idea! Thanks for sharing! Blessings, Cheryl



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