and……..we’re back. Almost completely!! I have to admit that I am not good at all the “behind the scenes” fancy work and SEO stuff. I am working on it.
Today I want to share something that I am good at! Filing!! I think the one thing I love about my “day job” is the secretary part of it. I love organizing and filing and what not. I also have worked on my home files for years. I have found a product that I have been using and now want to share.
Today’s focus will be your files. Yea!!! right?? well, some of you will stop reading here because you are either all over it and don’t need my help or you hate dealing with your files at home (or anywhere else for that matter).
FEAR NO MORE!!!! (just as a side note..I am from Oklahoma and a fierce Thunder fan. We lost our “Beard” and we have nothing to fear anymore here!
Ok….We have a couple of things to define first.
Daily mail – this is the snail mail that comes every day thanks to the nifty mail carrier.
Long term papers – papers that come from multiple people that we need to keep anywhere from one month to many years
Legal/Personal papers for the lock box/safe – anything that is legally binding or having to do with your identity or death.
Trash – things that we need to throw away.
Memories/collectible items – Things we keep for the memory value only
First lets start with daily mail. We need to deal with this the first time we touch it. If you need to leave it in the mail box until you are ready, it’s ok. What we need to do here is throw away the trash mail. We need a spot to put our daily mail into. I like the Panic no more system from Clever Container for this purpose.
This system works for your DAILY mail.
This system helps you manage all of your incoming mail. This mail may come from the mailbox, school, church, activities, etc. It helps you file it quickly when you FIRST get it. There are many ways to store this daily mail short-term storage. I recommend a portable system so that you can move it to the place you like to work. These two options are from Clever Container and work really well.
an attractive way to store your daily or work files.
A nice option for your daily mail files. Has handles and a label to help you stay organized.
We will need to set aside a time one day a week to address how this daily mail turns into long-term storage. We do not leave it in these daily files!
I have financial Fridays. This is the day that I sit down for 1-2 hours and do my financial “stuff”. This is bank balances, bills, mail, files. Kind of my desk day.
You will need to find time every week to go through your files and take care of what needs to be done.
I was a (and still am) a Fly Baby. I love the Fly Lady and give her lots of credit to getting me back in shape may times over the last 12 years.
Ok, so you will need files that address all the stuff that comes in. The system I showed you earlier, Panic No More, does that for you. Even down to things that have addresses we need put in our main address list and invites to things we need to attend.
Remember these files when setting up your daily file systems: To Pay, To deposit, To File, To go to, etc.
If you would like more help with how to do this, I can help you establish a system that works for you.
Ok, after we have set up our daily mail systems, we need to work on our long-term files systems. This will be where you set up files for all of your bills, insurance companies, activities, car information, loan information, medical information, etc. I have a system that I recommend called File Solutions
A color coded home and office filing system.
This is a system that has a guide for you to use and all the tabs that you need to set up your system. All you have to buy is the hanging files, tab holders, and files. I love it for the ease of use. There are some guidelines to follow for each of your files.
- Tax files need to be kept, organized by year for at least 7 years.
- Bank information, including deposit slips and statements need to be kept for 7 years as well.
- Medical records need to be kept up-to-date for each person.
- Loan information and payment information needs to be kept until debt is cleared.
- School records need to be kept until the next level of eduction is complete and then the final record from the institution should suffice.
- Month to month bills like electric, water, cable, phone, etc. need to be kept until payment has cleared. I keep mine for a calendar year and clean it out with my annual new year clean out.
Every piece of paper has a time limit. I can work with you to set up a schedule for all of your papers if they are not mentioned here.
Next let’s talk about lock box, security box or safe papers. This is where we keep an original of papers like birth certificates, social security cards, wills, Marriage license and so on. You can keep a copy in your files at home if you need to. This is so that we never lose the original.
I use my bank security box. It is ony 12 dollars a year! That is a great deal!
Trash – we need to throw away items in a safe manner. If the time is up on your paperwork that you don’t need, do not just throw it in the trash. Use a shredder to safely dispose of the papers. The bank I use has a free service to shred your bank papers that you can get rid of. The local pack and ship place has a service to shred credit cards and dvd/cds. This way people can’t get your info and steal your identity. It is not fun – trust me, I know.
Paper work for when you die. I know that this is not a fun topic. But, we all will die and we all want to make it as easy as possible that will be left in the aftermath. Paperwork that needs to be done and organized:
- A will. There is a thing going around called my last seven. I am still learning about this, but I understand it can take the place of a will. It is a list of your last 7 wishes.
- Funeral arrangements. If it is already done, no one else has to do it while they are dealing with the loss.
- A list of everything you have: bank accounts, bills, insurance, etc. My grandma had this and it was a life saver!!!
Ok, that part was not fun. But we can rest easy when it is done.
Thank you for hanging in with me during the last 3 days. I have been frustrated, but it motivated me to get this going again. Let me know your tips and products that you love for organizing your files! I will be picking up with this day and will come back to the “lost days” at the end. I may sneak a couple of them along the way.
See you tomorrow!!