Home Improvement 14: Paperwork & gaining space

Last year I had a major sort out of all of our paperwork. This needed to be done again because the spare room/office needs to be cleared and also because the system I had wasn’t really working for me. I had lots of A4 files with everything in which was all very organised. The trouble was I could never seem to keep on top of all of the post coming in. It meant sitting down with the hole puncher, getting out various files and faffing around. This might not sound like much hassle – it isn’t. The thing is, I’m a bit lazy when it comes to keeping on top of this stuff and it just wasn’t easy enough.

At the weekend I bought two expandable (is this a word?!) file cases from the Tesco Value range. They were just £3.90 each and are perfect. They come with printed tab headings inside though I have used stickers to create a lot of my own. I’ve now reorganised all of my paperwork as follows:

File 1: Finance and Employment with sections for…

  • Statements for our various current and savings accounts
  • Old loan and credit card details (I like to keep proof that they were all paid off,  just in case!)
  • Contracts from work for both of us plus another section each for any correspondence regarding pay, changes etc
  • Employment certificates for any courses/qualifications etc

File 2: Bills…

  • Individual sections for each basic household bill – water, electric, council tax etc
  • All insurance policies relating to house and mortgage
  • A section for each car so all registration/insurance/MoT documents etc are easy to find

I’ve had to hang on to a couple of the other files for other things relating to the mortgage but as there are only a couple they can go on the bottom shelf of the bookcase without taking up too much room. I’ve also used a couple of the storage boxes (freed up by my DVD clearout) to house old bank statements etc which I like to keep but hardly ever need access to.

I am really, really pleased with the new system. It means that it is seriously easy to file things as soon as they come in and then find them again. There are plenty of sections left over which can be used for other things as they crop up. The new files hardly take up any room at all. I no longer need the 2 drawer filing cabinet or an entire shelf on a book case for storage so I’ve actually managed to create some space!

Categories: Decluttering, Getting organised, home improvements | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Home Improvement 14: Paperwork & gaining space

  1. We use these too, keeps things nice and organised and ready for when you need anything important.

    I’ve also started shredding a lot of old bank statements/phone bills etc though I never know how long you should keep things like statements for…?!

    Kat x

    • shoestringalley

      Advice on this seems to vary a lot. I keep 5 years worth of bank statements and one year for everything else. I rarely seem to need any of it but you know how sod’s law works! x

  2. I try and do this too but everything gets stuffed in a drawer and I get around to filing it about once every 3 months. Hope you do better than me!

    • shoestringalley

      That’s kind of what I’d been doing and it kept turning into a big sorting out job that I dreaded. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep on top of it now!

  3. Frugal Trenches

    My problem is I just have way too much paper, so it feels like I need hundreds of files. Some days I really just want to throw it all out!!!

    • shoestringalley

      I know what you mean. When I had my major clear out last year I shredded years worth of stuff – 6 bin liners full! Fortunately some friends of ours use shredded paper for their pets…I bet they’re still trying to get through it now!

  4. whatshappeningatmyhouse

    Sounds like a good system. I too hate filing, and am not very good at keeping on top of it. I’ve thrown loads of paperwork out, but don’t seem to be able to reduce it any further and still have a two drawer filing cabinet full of paper.

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