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Today we continue our January series “Working it in 2015”. This week we’re tackling how to organize all those bills, receipts, manuals, etc. that are taking up space in your home. There are a number of articles out there that tell you how long you should keep certain tax receipts, bank statements, etc. Frankly, it’s a bit confusing and hard to keep up with. Instead I’ve created a file system that allows you to not worry about each individual thing.
- Hanging file folders
- File cabinet
- File boxes (4)
The left file cabinet has personal files & current year files in the top drawer; last year’s files and random folders in the bottom drawer. Using the two file drawers and four file boxes I can store the current year and 5 years worth of old files. Last year’s files are easily accessible and the file boxes are stored in the attic.
Each January I go through the “changing of the files”.
I actually enjoy the annual process. I go through the manual files and throw out anything we no longer have. The file box with the oldest files gets brought down and emptied. It’s like a little glimpse into our past. It’s always nice to see how far we’ve come with managing our finances since we discovered Dave Ramsey (more on that next week). I usually take the contents of the files and put them in a trash bag, which I take to Office Depot for shredding. It only costs about $0.99/pound. I reuse the file folders. Last year’s files in the bottom file drawer get moved into the now empty file box. I take a folded sheet of paper and create a label by writing the year then taping it on the inside. That box then gets put back in the attic.
The past year’s files in the top drawer move to the bottom drawer and the recycled file folders get put in the top drawer.
That’s it done. No need to worry about files again until next year!