Household paperwork is often the thing that gets neglected and left until “you’ve got the time” – like that ever happens?!?
One of the things that can stop people from getting started is the overwhelm of dealing with all the piles that are already there and have been for ages – “it’s too daunting, too much, I’ll never have the time to go through all that!” – Sound familiar?
One thing I advocate with my clients is to
- start a new system
- use it moving forwards
- deal with all the old stuff when you have time
So, let’s get that new system in place…
- Find a filing mechanism that works for you
I have a 2-drawer filing cabinet with individual folders labeled by category
You may use expanding box files, a set of horizontal filing drawers, a clear plastic box with coloured folders in – whatever works for you.
- Have 2 folders or trays – 1 called filing and 1 called action or to do.
- As the bills come in you need to decide whether you need to action it (or there is something to do), does it need filing, or can it be shredded and recycled. Put it in the relevant tray or the shredding heap (I put mine on top of the shredder and do it when the pile gets too big 😉).
- Once a week, set aside some time to do or action the things that need doing e.g. paying bills. Then move these to the filing tray or to the shredding heap, depending if you need to keep them or not.
- Also, once a week get to your filing.
If you are just starting to introduce a system, then create a file to put each item in labelled as it makes sense to you. E.g. gas and electric – or utilities
If your system is in place, then just get filing.
Put the items in the same place each time e.g. if you are using hanging files then always put the new items at the front of the folder, that way the latest will always be at the front and they will be in date order.
- Once every 3 or 6 months have a clear out – Get rid of the oldest items and keep the files up to date.
Now for the old stuff
- First get all your paperwork from all the different areas where it is stored and put it together in one place – yep, EVERYTHING!
- Next go through the papers one by one and sort into “fat” categories – don’t get too granular. E.g. Utilities, Insurance, Personal finances, work. Ensure you have a heap for shredding / recycling and really try to get rid of the things you don’t need.
- Take each category one at a time a put into smaller categories e.g. gas, electric, house insurance etc. Ensure everything has a home.
- Go through each category and put in date order with newest at the top – decide how long you need to keep these for and get rid of the older ones.
- File in your filing system ready for others to be added as they come in.
It is a simple method to follow but that doesn’t make it easy. If you need some help, then please contact me for 121 support or book onto my household paperwork organising workshop and we can do it together.
Happy sorting and filing