But since we are trying, very hard I might add, to get more organized and using the Dave Ramsey methodology in several elements of our lives I realized that our filing system had grown out of hand. Sigh, again.
I did this post a while back about how I had finally stopped being an idiot and started employing my organization filing system from my teaching days at home. Why it took so long, I will never really know. But the system itself works fabulously.
I just got lazy.
See, its like this, I get the mail on the way home from getting the Meatball from school. School's let out time coincides precisely with Beans melt down if he hasn't gotten a nap time. So by the time I stumble in the door holding the backpack (diaper bag), the mail, my keys, usually a water bottle or two, and a screaming flailing toddler in stage 3 of 4 for tantrums ... well the mail generally gets set on the kitchen table. The kitchen table is a crap magnet like no other. In our lazies we make piles and get to them about once a week, sometimes. Bottom line, I had a plastic drawer in a rolling thing from Walmart that I just stuffed full of "to file later" stuff and then I could roll it out of view when people where coming over.
Trouble was the to-file-laters never got filed later.
None of it was stuff that we needed to DO anything with, we had that done. It was just stuff we had to store JIC we ever do happen to need it. So after a few months of just sticking it all in that drawer ...
There was all of that paper and then the whole back half of the table is a temporary greenhouse for our impending backyard garden. A ridiculous mess indeed. I will admit to being mildly embarrassed to post that.
So I dove in. Sorted everything by company or thing (bank statements, health insurance, copies of paid internet company bill, etc.) then put them in chronological order in their piles. Then I paper clipped the piles so that they were organized for the eventual filing. I didn't want my piles to get messed up while I did the next step.
Then I cleaned out the existing files. I should have done this first, but the file cabinet was in direct view of a happily playing Beans, its not broke don't fix it, man. So I went out of logical order and cleaned out the files after I had cleaned out and organized the stuff to-be-filed. By this point I felt responsible for the death of like half a forest and had a list of things I wanted to go "paperless" on because this is both nuts and stupid.
Then I reviewed my file names and categories. While I don't need to give you a list of all my files, because that would be pointless and a bit too much info for my comfort, I will tell you that I divide them into color categories for ease.
Blue has everything certification, degree, or certificate related. Most of them are mine, but we each have a few.
Purple has anything that is like a manual, directions or warranties Kid stuff has it's own file.
Green has everything money related. This includes bills, bank statements, etc.
Yellow is for the kiddos. This is includes anything like school documentation (enrollment, report cards and important keepsake stuff I haven't done anything else with. Our dogs info is in there too, everything vet related and micro-chipping for example. I also use yellow as a catch-all, so there are also blank cards and holiday cards in there too.
Pink is medical or emergency in nature. I have "safe" files for the kids, things I pray to never use that I can post separately with their finger prints and current pictures in here. Each of us also has a file for medical documentation, prescriptions and what not.
Lastly is Grey, and this has anything legal in it. We also use grey for CYA (cover your ass) stuff, so if we are in the process of purchasing something or dealing with anything shady we keep documentation here JIC we ever need it.
Our most used files -- for things like monthly bills -- are the easiest to access, the rest are filed in a way that made sense to me by category (i.e. we each have our own medical files and they are all four together). Then I made my labels and stuck those bad boys on the files, in some cases right over the old labels because stickers are awesome like that.
End of the day I was sick of paper, had a lot of trash, and felt better. I am instituting another la purga in our household, and it only seems fair that I start it because its going to make everyone miserable. As the mom, I find that is like 60% of my job description most days.
So papers and files are purged ... for now ... where will I go next?
No seriously, where?! Anyone?