Friday, January 11, 2013

New Year's Purge Part II: Personal Filing Cabinet

The Queen is back with more stories of purging and organizing for the New Year. As I said at the end of my last post, the next project I was going to tackle was our personal document filing cabinet. Before we get down to the actual organizing, let's talk about this for a minute. It wasn't until I had 2 kids and started running Junk King with the King, that I realized, running a household is sort of like running a business. You always have paperwork and things to keep track of and if you don't have some sort of system to handle that stuff as it comes in, you can get overwhelmed pretty quickly.
A couple months ago, I decided to gather up all the various paperwork that was scattered around my kitchen and when I put it into one big pile, the pile ended up about 1 foot tall! When I had that in front of me, I decided to put the pile aside and tackle it another day - which as you can probably guess - never happened!
Fast forward to this past weekend, it was finally time to tackle the project and get it here we go:

1. The first step was to get all the papers in one place. Most of the stuff had been in our filing cabinet, so we took the drawers out to make it easier:

So it doesn't look like we have that many papers or even a problem organizing them - but the truth is, a lot of the stuff in these 2 drawers was so old and irrelevant to us now that I knew I could free up room to organize the stuff we actually needed to keep.

2. The next step was to take everything out and put it in piles, at the same time, we went through everything we took out and got rid of all the old stuff we no longer needed. A couple useful sites I used for advice on how long to keep certain documents from the IRS and this great chart from Good Housekeeping. All the stuff we got rid of that had sensitive information on it, got shredded (the princess gave us a hand - who knew it could be a family activity!):

One thing I do when I shred papers is put all the shredded pieces into paper bags and it goes right out with the recycling. I hate those plastic bags that come with shredding machines - the ease of them makes you want to throw it in the trash but really, you're shredding paper - recycle it!

3. The last step, was determining what we were keeping (by using the piles we made) and then making sure each thing had a folder in the drawer. At the end of this project, we filled up a one of those town recycling bins with paper as well as filled 4 paperbags with shredded paper - now that's a purge (I should've taken a picture of it, it was impressive)! What a relief - everything has a place now and we'll be able to find a document next time we're looking for one!!

Question: Do you have a home paperwork system that works for you? Please share!

Last words: Next week, as the last installment in the New Year's purge we will tackle gift wrapping supplies (come on, I know you're excited and I also know most of you probably have a bin full of stuff!).

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