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Paperwork storage in a small home

(7 Posts)
whenwilltherebegoodnews Tue 08-Jan-13 20:34:48

Trying for a more minimalist year, inspired by the decluttering threads, but I have so much paperwork (mortgage stuff, bank stuff, manuals, work contract, DH's work stuff that must not be thrown out). Currently kept in boxfiles and folders in a bookcase in the living room, but it looks messy.

How can I tidy it all up? What can I keep it in? And what can I bin? e.g. how long to keep payslips, statements etc? Trying to go paperless where I can.


lizzywig Wed 09-Jan-13 08:24:55

We had the same issue with about 10 big folders constantly falling out from under the stairs. As it was such a mess filing anything was rarely done and cluttered up the house.

We bought a small two draw a4 filing cabinet. We got a cream one from staples which cost about £50 (+ cost of hanging files).

It's the best investment I've ever made. I chucked about half the paperwork i thought i needed when moving everything over to the cabinet. Turned out I'd been keeping a lot of duplicates and things we really didn't need. Now when a letter comes in the post that we need to keep its filed in seconds and doesn't clutter the house. It's literally changed our lives and makes me feel like we have half the amount of admin to do!

Spero Wed 09-Jan-13 08:30:44

Some work stuff I have to keep for six years but anything else I am ruthless and keep for only a year. I go for online bills wherever poss and have on line statements. I think it helps if you make sure all your files are the same size, looks less cluttered. I had a horrible collection of mismatched files and I looked so much better when I went for consistency.

Agree a filing cabinet is good idea - can double as a useful bit of furniture to put a lamp on.

PolterGoose Wed 09-Jan-13 16:51:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

specialsubject Wed 09-Jan-13 17:07:06

two-drawer filing cabinet - a wood-effect one much nicer than a metal one. Two sizes so make sure you get the files to fit. look on ebay!

have a 'filing tray' on the top (for when you are too rushed to file) but be ruthless about what goes in it - try and handle paper as little as possible.

also operate an attic archive (if you have an attic) - stuff that needs to be kept for years but unlikely to be referenced. Goes in a wallet file, labelled with the year, and then in a plastic box with a lid. Go up each year and shred the oldest one when you put the next file in.

may need a big shred to start, but oh the virtuous glow afterwards!

noisytoys Wed 09-Jan-13 21:19:10

I just got rid of all the paperwork. You are unlikely to need it ever and if you do you can always get copies from the bank

Sabriel Wed 09-Jan-13 21:22:55

Copies from the bank come at (at least) £10 a time, so not really a method to be adopted.

My mum decided to be clever and threw out all her paperwork, then rang me in a panic because she'd chucked out something important that she couldn't replace.

Attic archive sounds like a good plan - I might try that.

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