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Friday, September 18, 2009

Finding the time - Part 3 - The Insatiable "To Be Filed" Pile

Over the last 6 years I have sat down to file my "to be filed" pile approximately 3 times. I'm sure you can see the problem with this. Generally we are pushed to this point when we need a seriously important document that we are embarrassed to admit is in the mile deep pile...somewhere.

If you don't have this problem, please, share how you avoid it in the comments to save poor souls like myself who are drowning! In January 2009 I made a new year's resolution that I have actually kept (this may well be the first and last!) - my files are under control. Along with this system came the added bonus of bills paid on time and a more regular grasp on the state of our budget.

Part of my problem was my huge, unmovable file cabinet was on the opposite side of the house from where I pay bills and in a room I tend not to spend much time in. So I would allow my file pile to grow and then I would drop it in the drawer.

I happened to have one of these nifty portable file boxes. You can pick one up for $14 dollars at Office Depot or others for less. Mine even has a slot to a separate compartment where I immediately drop all bills and statements when I bring in the mail each day. The added bonus is, it fits neatly under my desk (a project from a previous post) and out of view.

I made files for all of the bills and statements that come every month or quarterly and titled them 09-"Name of bill", grouped them appropriately in hanging files, and added a few other topics such as "Medical records" with folders for each of our family members.

I also chose a day of the week that I put on my calendar as bill day. I make sure to sit down, pay all bills, file them in my nifty box, balance my checkbook (I use and love Quicken,) and finally take a look at where we are to date for our monthly budget.

Once I started doing this weekly, it became a breeze.

I can't wait until December when I get to spend a few minutes duplicating folders for 2010 and simply transfer over my wonderfully filed and organized hanging folders into the filing cabinet!

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