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Filing, Filing, Filing

February 26th, 2018

A few weeks ago, when I posted about my filing cleanup, a few of you wanted to know about the filing system I use. It all starts with these plastic file boxes and the regular green hanging file folders (and a package of colored ones for me, but those are not necessary). I keep records for both myself personally (personal and my small business), for my dad, and for the business I manage in one plastic file box. I print labels for each file folder, including one for each month of the year, one for taxes, accounting printouts, taxes, and any other categories I need to track. (often I use a red folder for taxes, a yellow for important documents, etc., something to easily set it apart from other files so I can quickly add documents).

The box lives right by my desk and as I need to file something, it goes right into the correct file. Typically, the current month is at the front and I move the months back as they are over. Filing things instantly is the best way to do it, there’s never any stack that needs filing. In some cases, I have files within the files. For my blog, I keep a regular file folder (non-hanging) inside the current month’s folder. Any necessary receipt for it gets put directly in this folder, it is then moved into the following month’s folder when that month starts. When the year is over, the box goes into the garage and a new one is started. When taxes need to be done, I simply have to grab my tax folder and all the necessary information is in that folder. It’s very rare that I have to search for an important paper or receipt that my accountant needs for my taxes.

I also keep a set of files that get moved from last years box to this year, things like insurance, car files, medical files, retirement accounts, etc. I also keep the previous year’s tax folder with return as well, in case I need to reference it.

After spending a day cleaning up old files, I decided that starting this year I was going to ruthless about what things I saved. My personal files are organized in such a way that I can simply empty out the monthly file folders after a few years, all important information is kept in the tax folder or the files that get moved each year.

Even though I keep very little nowadays in the way of filed papers, I’m hoping to cut down on it even more. This system makes it easy to deal with papers after a few years, anything that’s important is set aside throughout the year. When I didn’t have to keep business records, I used a pocket file box for each year. It worked beautifully, I even colored my labels to match.

Do you have a good filing system in place? What’s your biggest struggle with filing & paperwork? For those of you wondering about my system, do you have any specific questions?

Filing, Filing, Purging, Organizing…

February 1st, 2018

I developed a great filing system years ago, it works well for me. However, I have about 15 years worth of personal and business files that I need to purge. Tax returns and a few other important documents will be saved, all else will be shredded.

I’ve been going through boxes little by little, with this I resolved to be ruthless about what I save and file, only the essential items. I also need to make a master list, in case something happens to me, it will make life much easier for those that have to deal with all the finances.

After dealing with my mom’s death last summer, I realize the importance of streamlining filing systems, purging frequently, and having a master list of all important accounts. My mom didn’t do this, and unfortunately the responsibility has landed on me to figure it all out. Going through 50 boxes of files to make sure nothing of importance is in them take countless hours. Not having a master list of retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other important things makes it frustrating to try to find out what’s current and what’s not. If you haven’t done this, please consider doing it. Exchange lists with a trusted friend or family member. Have someone that knows exactly where things can be found.

How’s your filing system? Do you keep a master list of all important accounts and information?

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Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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