Tidy people file their papers. They know how to get their hands on birth certificates and gas grill warranties. Car titles and insurance policies. Immunization records, the dog's AKC registration and the receipt for Uncle Wally's Christmas gift sweater.
It's enough to make you want to throw up.
Or be just like them.
Possibly both, one right after the other.
Having a simple household filing system is one of the best Tidy Habits there is. I say "simple" because you and I both know how much we Perfectionist-But-Not-So-Tidies love to overcomplicate things to the point of being unworkable. This is why we have stacks...because our overly detailed filing systems are too cumbersome to actually use.
We have the "I Know It's In Here Somewhere" stack.
The "To Be Filed" stack.
The "Bills, Paid and Unpaid" stack.
The "Things I'm Going to Read Later" stack.
The "Junk Mail That May Have Valuable, Albeit Expired By Now Coupons" stack.
You're talking with the Stacking Queen here, and you can't outstack me with your stacks.
Every home should have three files, named ABC: An Active File, a Basic File and a Classic File. I really like Organized Home's structure below.
An ABC household filing system includes:
- Action File: a tabletop file for daily, short-term filing. Use an action file to organize bills for payment, papers that require response, and information that must be filed.
- Basic Files: a household's working file system. Kept in a file cart, cabinet or drawer, basic files hold medical insurance records, credit card statements, rent receipts and bank statements. Use basic files for routine activities like bill paying, tax files, medical information and home maintenance.
- Classic Files: archives for long-term file storage. Copies of tax returns and insurance policies, homeowners' records, medical records, and copies of legal documents belong in classic files. Use file cabinets or records boxes to protect these items for long-term storage. Note: original documents such as insurance policies, legal documents, or tax records should be stored in secure facilities such as safe deposit boxes.
I use separate drawers for the Basic and Classic files, and use hanging file folders for broad categories in each. Inside the hanging folders I might add manilla files for specific items. I've found that the broader the category, the easier it is to file AND FIND things.
I put receipts from each month into gallon ziplock bags. Hey, don't judge. It works for me.
Today's Small Thing is to file as if you are a Tidy. Because you are one.
Create some files and stick your papers in them. That's all.
Filing does not have have to be complicated. Simply having a place to put your receipts, warranties and check stubs will make you feel confident and organized.
Filing will even make you feel sexy.**
**Resulting sexiness (including, but not limited to, shortness of breath, heaving bosoms and irresistible attractiveness) is not guaranteed, but mild to severe cases have been reported after bouts of filing and organizing. Home Sanctuary and its proprietor are not responsible for instances of passionate kissing, flirting or lovemaking as a result of creating household files, and is not liable for loss of work time, subsequent hot dates in little black dresses, or unexpected pregnancies. Files and their side effects are the sole responsibility of the filer, and filer understands the risks associated with said activity.