So, first I need you all to understand that since February of this year my family and I have been living out of boxes. Did you know that? Yep. And for a few months this summer in the midst of my hubby's work transfer we were shacking with family. Thank the good Lord that only lasted two and a half months because any longer and we might not be on speaking terms. I might be exaggerating but I certainly didn't want to overstay our welcome and I was eager to get back to our family routines. Anyway, So we have been in our new house now for 5 months this week (where has the time gone!) and the last room still to be unpacked and settled is my home office.
This weekend I began getting the room ready for the desk's mid-December arrival. (hoping!) This task quickly turned into something much greater than just making space for a desk. Something that had completely escaped me until this moment and then inspired this very post. It's the End of the Year. It is time to get our paperwork in order for the next 12 months. To set aside important tax documents. To make sure policies are current and placed in a safe location. This is HUGE! And easy - or at least I hope I can show you how to make it easy.
So I'm going to start by showing you some pictures of the office. Note that these are actually after shots. I have a lot of work ahead of me but this is what I live for. I also hope that this dispels any illusions you have of my home as being a perfect clutter free environment. That is so false. But I try and this room is the black sheep of the house.
Are you shocked??
I picked up these bookshelves at Target for 30 bucks. It's functional, not gorgeous. But my hope is when its all said and done the bookshelves are simply a blank canvas to all of my treasures. You also get a glimpse into my foyer though that door.
This big, empty wall is where the desk will go. I know it doesn't look very big but with all the stuff in the way i couldn't get a good angle to take the picture. That miniature french door leads to the kitchen - cute huh?
And here (with the mini french door to the left) is my secretary. I adore this piece of furniture. ahh.
Now I'm going to show you the central nervous system of our family's filing system.
Tidy, huh? This milk crate thing that the files are sitting in is my temporary travel container. But all the files are still relevant. Here is a breakdown of subjects for the files. In front, the first one is titled work. this is where Hubby sticks all of his pay stubs. There are several times when your asked to show prior months pay stubs. A recent example for us is purchasing our new home. But I like to keep these things to keep track of vacation available and other pertinent information provided on these things. Next is labeled 'Kids.' Here I keep the kiddos shot records and school handbooks. Next file is 'Dogs,' in which I keep vaccination records and AKC information. Now a big one, 'House Invoices.' I am not talking about bills here. I'm referring to things at our home which require quarterly or annual renewals such as our septic system maintenance or pest control contracts. When the new one comes these get replaced. Next file is for 'car titles.' Those of you that know my Hubby know that he changes cars as frequently as he does socks. So we keep these handy for the next sale/trade/barter. And finally I have a file for items that I want to put in scrapbooks.
Now for the next shocking photo:
This is all the junk I pulled out of it to shred. All of this paperwork had been accumulated over the past 12 months and by simply going through it and purging the items that were outdated or obsolete I reduced the amount of paperwork we have by at least 80%.
I mentioned bills earlier and this is how I keep bills organized...
I plan on getting an accordion folder that is a bit more attractive but this does the job. I keep each months bills in this folder and that way if i ever question paying a bill its here. I never put a bill in here unless it has been paid. At the end of the year I put all of the year's bills into a zip lock bag and keep them for one more year. Unlike taxes that you must keep for 7 years - if there is going to be a discrepancy in paying a bill it will usually be in the next 4-6 months.
Some of you may be thinking about the more important paperwork such as homeowners insurance, auto and life insurance, wills, tax information, birth/death/marriage paperwork and home valuables receipts and warranties. I keep all of that in their own folders inside of our fireproof safe. Obviously, I'm not going to share that in the www for all to see.
I hope that these labels though help you shuffle though what to keep and what not to keep. And I like the motto that if I haven't needed, seen or used it in the last six months - it needs to go. Now is a great time to start your new year off on an organized foot. If you have any questions about how to adapt filing to your personal needs post your questions. Until next time, Happy Cleaning!