Organizing Personal Files

One thing - or rather, make that many things - that desperately needed organizing in my life were my important files. For such a long time I had simply been tossing important letters/correspondence/etc. in a random desk drawer and told myself I would deal with it later. Of course, later never happened.

And now it's tax season time and that desk drawer is finally overflowing with random paper after all these years. I've decided to suck it up and do something about it. The thing is, I don't have space for a regular filing cabinet. And quite frankly, even if I did have the space, I don't think the files I have would fill up a significant portion of a filing cabinet's space. But I liked the idea of those plastic tubs I've seen everywhere. So I stopped off at my local office supplies store and picked up 3 essential items:

And then I went ahead and got busy sorting and organizing. I had seen and loved A Bowl Full of Lemon's post on her filing system, and really liked the idea of creating a colour coordinated system of organization. So I did what I do best: made a list. This was actually a little bit tougher for me than I thought, as I wasn't going to just take Toni's own system as things like 'Home & Auto' just don't apply to me (...yet). So this is what I settled on:

  1. Important Documents acted as a good catch-all miscellaneous category for things that just didn't fit under any specific title. Here I've put membership information, old school information like transcripts and admittance letters, and past rental agreements.
  2. The Medical category is divided into sections depending on the doctor - vision, dental, and my general practitioner. I also included a file for my medical insurance here, as it seemed more likely that I would access it here rather than under the Work Document category.
  3. The Taxes & Government category is broken down by year for ease of access. Here, I've decided to file any tax information and any correspondence I receive from the government for that specific year.
  4. The Income & Work Documents category has been sub-divided by the organization (both past and present) where I've worked. Here I've decided to include any pay stubs received and any correspondence or official documentation I've received from an organization.
  5. Finally, the Banking & Bills category is set to cover the catch-all of any account information or correspondence received from my specific banks. In the future, I'll also be filing any current bills for things such as hydro, cable, etc.

All in all, I'm really pleased with how well organized my papers are now. Future organization, though, depends on me following through on sorting and filing things appropriately. This system isn't going to work unless I put in that work - which is important to remember.

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