We’ve all been there at least once – a lost passport a few days before you’re due to travel, a lost bank statement when you need to prove you bought something or even a misplaced driving license just when you need it.
For me, it was a lost passport just weeks before we were due to travel on holiday and despite turning the house upside down and back to front we couldn’t find it anywhere which led to a stressful last minute (and very costly) visit to our local passport office for a replacement.
The stress that lost passport caused was unbelievable so as soon as I got back from our holiday, I set up our own household filing system to make sure something like that never happened again. I’m sure lots of you have your own systems to keep track of all of your paperwork but I thought you might like to see mine today because my system is about as simple and easy to keep on top of as it could get….
Get your new folder prepared.
I used a file that I bought from Tesco for a pound and some clear plastic wallets that were about the same price. I’ve labelled each wallet with different categories like the ones on the stickers you can see above. My file has all sorts of categories including school residentials, receipts to keep, tax docs and many others – I regularly add to it so I have wallets with stickers on just waiting to be labelled.
Decide what you need to keep.
I keep different things for different lengths of time but here’s my general guidelines:
- Bank statements and credit card bills – 1 year as I know I can always get copies from my bank at a small charge if I need them outside of this period (which I never have)
- Utility bills – 1 year or if I get billed quarterly then I keep the last two bills so only six months for those.
- Receipts – until the returns period has passed and any warranty has lapsed.
- Insurance policies – until the next policy document is sent.
Sort your documents into the relevant folders.
Once you know what you’re keeping and what’s going in the bin (carefully shredded of course) then you can start allocating everything that you’re keeping into a folder.
Unless you’re super organised, have a holding space for post.
I would never file things away on a daily basis so I have a box in my bureau that I move post to as soon as I’ve seen it. That way I can pop it in the file on a weekly or fortnightly basis and not run the risk of it getting lost.
Here’s my box just before today’s sort out:
Keep on top of it
Once you have your system in place, do try and keep on top of it and clear out what you don’t need every now and again. If you do, you’ll never lose any household documents again. 😉
I was going to show you what mine looks like but I ended up having to blur out so many personal details in Picmonkey that the picture looked ridiculous so you’ll just have to imagine it.
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