organizing paperwork for a remodel

plumberryJune 16, 2013

we're starting our construction - gutted kitchen, etc.
paperwork everywhere and disorganized. I need advice on simple and efficient system for organizing my paperwork.
Thank you in advice for any tips and advice.

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I had stuff all over the place and one day, I bought a portable file box with a handle and hanging folders - so much better!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 3:22PM
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I just used one of my old trapper keeper folders from high school. Scratched out 'Biology' and put 'New Kitchen'. It was a bright color so I could always find it.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 3:24PM
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Binder with tab dividers labeled ie. cabinets, fixtures, counter, etc...that is what I intended to do but 1 1/2 years later my papers are still a mish mash thrown in a box! Thanks for the reminder?!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 4:37PM
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an accordion folder with lots of compartments.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 5:01PM
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thanks, all. @Gemini & weissman how do you use the compartments? how is it sorted? tia!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 5:44PM
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When we started planning for our remodel, based on the scope of our projects, I knew that we would have tons of paper work and information. Since we both have a very demanding full time job, I want us to have a relative efficient system to manage the projects by keeping good records and taking full advantage of the value of the information we collect. Below is the system we use:

1. Use a big three- ring binder to keep all the original paper work. I separate them by projects, such as kitchen, hall bath, master bathroom...etc. As soon as we receive a copy of estimate, purchase receipt, contract, draft or formal drawing...etc., it goes to the big binder under each project.

2. We have a big box to store pamphlets, samples, product literatures..etc. Whenever we receive one, it goes to the box. Once we decide the ones we are not interested, we toss them out.

3. I keep all the remodel, decorating, kitchen and bathroom design..related books in one location. It is easy to check for any design ideas, inspiration, and information and show the pictures to contractors as what we have in mind.

4. I set one computer file folder for each project, such as kitchen, master bathroom., guest bathroom..etc.

Each folder contains sub folders, such as receipts, drawings, notes, product information/photos, estimate, before and after photos and important emails with contractors, suppliers, stores...etc.

I scan all the original paper work, floor plan, draft/formal drawings, wish lists and keep these in each related project folder and sub folder. For example, a scanned copy of plumbing fixtures receipt for the hall bath goes to the Hallbath folder under subfolder Receipt.

5. I have a spreadsheet to track budget/estimate and actual cost of each work item of each project. I update the spreadsheet whenever there is a change.

The system helps us clarifying confusion over bills and payments.

We know what caused cost under or over run of each project.

We use the information to do pricing and estimate comparisons. It provides a baseline to predict new work items if they are similar to the ones we did before.

It helps to document cost base when we sell this house in the future.

Whenever we send email to contractor, suppliers, stores...etc. all the files/information are readily available.

I like our system, it save us tons of time, energy, and sanity.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 6:47PM
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My DH organized it into a file box - one of those with a handle on top that you can carry about like the one below. There was a hanging folder for each general topic - e.g. GC, cabinets, oven, cooktop, counters. Inside those could be manila folders to subdivide further. For example in the oven one there would be one for the information one each brand we were considering to hold brochures, price information, etc. In the cabinet one there were brochures for the cabinets showing door styles.

The box could easily be taken with us when we were going to talk to a supplier. New hanging folders or manila folders could be added as needed and when the project was done, anything we wanted to retain like the information on the appliances we had selected could be moved into our file drawers.

I keep as much as possible on my laptop. I had a directory for kitchen with subdirectories for each topic. Manuals and brochures can usually be downloaded. Most of the time I used the documents there rather than the paper copies. Once the remodel was under way, the pictures taken were also stored there. Since I travel on business frequently, if a question came up while I was away, I had the information at hand. Also I had spreadsheets that I made for some things like planning the drawer sizes.

Here is a link that might be useful: File box

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 7:11PM
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Well, I didn't actually use an accordion folder for my remodel but I use them for other things. You need to figure out what to put in the different compartments and label them - it's really no different than any other filing system, once you figure out the different categories.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 8:21PM
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I used an accordion file to organize everything. The folders were organized by cabinet info, countertops, plumbing, lighting, etc. It was easy to take around with me everywhere.

I also kept track of our expenses in a spreadsheet with a running tally of the amount spent so I could see how much had been spent during the process.

I took pictures of contracts etc on my phone so that it was readily accessible in case of questions.

I had a plastic box that I kept samples so that it was easy to find them. Things are in such disarray during the process.

I also made a very detailed list of everything that needed to get done so I wouldn't forget in the midst of the project chaos. As more things came up, I just added them to my list.

I made notes in a spiral notebook during every meeting I had, which has come in handy when an issue has come up or even just for me to remember something that was discussed.

Hope that helps! Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 8:30PM
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I'm in the middle of a kitchen project. I started with a big pile of papers, but realized fairly quickly that I'd need better organization. I went to my file drawers and pulled out a whole bunch of hanging folders and multicolored file folders. I always write the labels on file folders in pencil, so I reuse them again and again. I erased all the old labels, and started writing new ones: appliances, backsplash, flooring, lighting, etc. I put the files into hanging folders labelled "Kitchen 2013" I needed six hanging folders for all the paperwork I've accumulated and sorted into individual files.

I put the hanging files into a file drawer I emptied for this purpose. It's a pretty easy way to keep things organized. I throw estimates, photos, pages torn from magazines, receipts, all sorts of things related to each topic into that particular file. For example, my windows file has pix of windows, printouts from GW with window ideas, even window treatment ideas, as well as estimates, sales brochures, etc. from my contractor.

I also keep a lot of info on my computer, but I like having things on paper that I can hold in my hand and examine.

The topics don't have to be broad, like "cabinets" or "appliances". One of my files is only about trash pullouts.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 9:04PM
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I used an accordion file with general topics like flooring, granite, lighting, plumbing, etc. anything I had to keep went in there.

I also had a spreadsheet with a line for each item, budget/estimate, quantity, and price paid. Across the top were columns next to the cost info were columns for date ordered, paid in full (y/n), on site (y/n), link to online info is needed, and for items with payments to be made several numbered columns for 1st payment and date, 2nd, etc. if you know how to make basic SUM formulas and such it is easy to make the sheet multiply costs out, add amount spent, amount outstanding, etc that automatically change when you update the info.

Most inspiration for me was online, so I have a ton of screen captures on my iPad. Also took pics of anything critical so I can access easily on any of my Apple devices via photo stream.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 10:07PM
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I'm blown away by all of your replies. This is SO VERY helpful. Thank you, ALL.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 11:52PM
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