Do you use files and file cabinets or something else?

tre3March 12, 2007

I am stuck with a two drawer file cabinet that is very deep. I can't get rid of it but I am not file oriented. I use it for deep storage, things I need to keep but may only refer to once a year.

I keep investment statements in a binder seperated by tabs. My bills get piled on a shelf in my kitchen until I pay them..usually online. Then they move to an unlidded box until the next bills come in. Once I know my payment has been rec'd, I shred the previous months.

In the stack of unpaid bills I also have items that I am procrastinating on such as credit card offers, solicitation for donations, subcription renewals. Each time I pay bills I quickly sort thru these to see if I've come up with a decision. If not, back in the stack they go.

What do you do? Is it working?

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DH and I have the paper organization divided. I keep the things like manuals, kid's papers, health insurance, etc. in small hanging folder baskets on top of a bookshelf.

DH keeps track of monthly bills and investments, etc. He has a cubbie hole system on top of one of his desks and items are divided up into those cubbies. That way he can easily find a current bill, the stack of donation places when we review in December, etc. We each have home office spaces in this house, but in our previous house I just kept things on the top of the cabinet in the formal dining room. It wasn't pretty, but it was easy to use.

We keep no paper in the kitchen. Paper and kitchen counters just don't mix for us. DH use to open the mail and then restack it right next to the stove. Harping on him didn't change that, so I gave him a couple of warnings that anything paper piled on my counters would be trashed. I told him that I didn't keep my pots and pans stacked on his desk, so using the food prep space for paperwork was making my life difficult. After having me throw away all of the bills and everything else in the pile, he finally decided he could make the effort to walk a few steps and put it elsewhere.

We are not really filers. More specifically, organized pilers. Our files are things which we rarely need. My piles hang, his piles are cubbies. Works for us right now.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 1:41PM
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I use a file cabinet. DH handles investment stuff (I think he throws it in a pile :-) but I do the monthly bills, keep donation receipts, manuals, school papers, etc.

For bills, I have all my accounts set up so I can just pay them on the first of the month. This reduces a lot of stress. When a bill comes in I put it in the bill cubby on my desk. On the first, I write all the checks and put the bills together in an envelope with "Bills March 2007" written on it, and it goes into the file for "Bills - Current Year". At the end of the year it goes into the box with all of the tax stuff to go to the CPA (DH is self employed so we have lots of deductions and have to save everything.) From there it will end up in a box labelled "Taxes and Financial Info - 2007." We keep seven years of records.

I find a file cabinet very easy and useful. I keep the files in straight alphabetical order, but color code the labels (pink for dd's stuff, black for money, blue for home stuff, green for work related, etc.)

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 4:35PM
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We have a deep tray in the kitchen. Into it go bill stubs and anything else that needs to be saved. Once a quarter, I go through it all, sort it by service provider and date. Then I excuse myself to the basement and our 5 drawer file cabinet. Two drawers have hanging file folders with tab/labels and the stubs and statements go into them. Each file folder has only one purpose. I don't allow myself to come up for air until everything is filed. Once a year, usually in Jan or Feb, I pull out the 2 yr ago stuff and put it in labeled manila envelopes and it gets moved to a different drawer in the cabinet. Because of the rotating, I haven't had to buy new folders in quite a few years. It sounds a bit picky..and it is, but it works for me...I can always find stuff.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 8:26PM
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I have a 6x9 card-file drawer for bills. I use the filing cabinet for investment papers, and for other stuff I might need more often (like the zoo-membership coupons, etc.)

I have lost its use as a place to put "current projects" stuff--the sunday school material, or the "find a new mortgage" project, or "DH's job search" or stuff like that. I need to get that back somehow--probably by purging the stuff that's in it.

I LOVE my filing cabinet!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 10:09PM
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16 years ago we were super audited by the IRS for 4 years in a row. What a nightmare! So I learned to save every receipt, check, statement, bill etc and I keep them for 10 years. I have a file for each category by year and at the end of the year everything goes into a box along with the tax records for that year and then that goes into the attic with a note on it with what year I can shred.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 4:56PM
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I had written on another thread that from December 31 and back, I was going to get rid of all the utility, cable, phone and credit card statements. Because we've moved around, I am going to keep one of each of these from the various houses just to have a record of it.

We don't own a business so I think it will be okay to do this. Do you agree?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 5:28PM
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as long as any actual receipts are w/ the tax records, or the appliance manuals.

Statements aren't that useful. I think you're safe.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 5:40PM
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Marie, If you are trying to claim a higher amount than the standard deduction for the telephone tax refund this year, you are going to need 3+ yrs of your phone bills.

We keep everything for 7 yrs.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 8:41AM
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I go to the accountant next week. Should I bring all my phone statements with me? Is this only on landline phones or on cell phones as well? I actually might have saved something I need (LOL).

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 4:57PM
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