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Does anyone have a really great system for paperwork?

(35 Posts)
ChipmunkSundays Tue 20-Sep-16 12:55:22

We don´t have a scanner, so scanning and digital filing is out before anyone suggests that.

One of the worst culprits for me is receipts, warranties, guarantees. I used to just keep the really big stuff (electricals etc) but then I got caught out when a set of bed linen wore out in weeks and I could only get refunded the minuscule sale price rather than the price I actually paid because I didn´t have the receipt. angry So I realised that clearly I need to keep the receipts for everything we buy. Sigh. How do you do it? Do you just lob everything into one giant file and spend hours looking for the correct one? At the moment I have been putting things into plastic wallets and trying to keep them in the room where that thing "belongs" but I´m starting to lose track of them all tbh.

Another problem for me is passwords and PINs, e.g. for online banking. I know you´re not supposed to write them down, but how do you remember them all? My two bank accounts alone have generated two card PINs, two long online banking login numbers, and two online banking PINs. I can´t keep it all in my head!

Any other great tips on paperwork?

MrsHulk Tue 20-Sep-16 13:01:41

Marie Kondo suggests just having one box file for each year, and all paperwork for that year goes in the box, without any subdivision. So far I've found that the time I spend going through the box looking for something I need is much less than the time I used to spend painstakingly filing things in neat folders smile

Salmiak Tue 20-Sep-16 13:03:11

If you don't have a scanner then just take a photo on your phone and email it to yourself. I put all mine in specific folder, with the item in the photo as the subject heading.

Can you change the long number on your online banking to a user name or something more memorable? My bank lets me do this.

ChipmunkSundays Tue 20-Sep-16 13:04:07

So literally everything is in there - utility bills, bank statements, receipts, medical letters, the lot? Do you ever find that you can´t remember which year something belonged to and find yourself going through 2 or 3 massive boxes? Intrigued by this system but also slightly intimidated!

NickNacks Tue 20-Sep-16 13:04:51

Yes I do the box file for each year. I'm self employed so it ties in with the tax year.

ChipmunkSundays Tue 20-Sep-16 13:06:28

MrsHulk So literally everything is in there - utility bills, bank statements, receipts, medical letters, the lot? Do you ever find that you can´t remember which year something belonged to and find yourself going through 2 or 3 massive boxes? Intrigued by this system but also slightly intimidated!

Salmiak photos are a great idea to replace a scanner, but tbh I think I would worry about being able to find things if there were a deluge of stuff on my computer - I often struggle to find relevant emails, documents as it is... Even though I struggle with paperwork I suspect that physical papers are still a better solution for me personally than digital. Thanks, though!

ChipmunkSundays Tue 20-Sep-16 13:07:03

Sorry, double post to MrsHulk...

NickNacks Tue 20-Sep-16 13:08:10

I'm very selective about what I keep- do you need medical letters?

I have a calendar with a pocket for appt cards / invitations etc and they get chucked when the event has happened. I also have one pocket file for letters I will need but not yet, Usually children related.

I also take photos of letters that have info I will need when out and about like uniform and equipment lists for school.

ChipmunkSundays Tue 20-Sep-16 13:09:47

I think part of my problem is that I don´t really know what I should keep! I gather that Marie Kondo would say to chuck it all, but I worry. It´s the "just in case" feeling.

Cockblocktopus Tue 20-Sep-16 13:11:25

Download Scanner Pro from the App Store. Scan and store in drop box. Or scan directly in to drop box with the in app scanner.

Choose online bills and statements as much as possible.

MrsHulk Tue 20-Sep-16 13:13:38

Well according to Marie Kondo everything goes in all together, but I do cheat a bit on a couple of major topics (eg I have a small folder for medical info, as I'm disabled so have a lot of it).

Otherwise everything in together - haven't forgotten the year of something happening so far!

And re the photos and emails - depending on your email system you should be able to search so as long as your subject headings are sensible it should be pretty easy to find things

HandbagHelper Tue 20-Sep-16 13:14:26

I have a small filing cabinet. Each July I make myself throw out the previous years stuff. The filing cabinet only fits about a years worth of documents so it makes me limit what I keep and makes me go through it every 12 months. (And instructions go in a box in the garage -rarely looked at so don't deserve prime position in the house!).

JenLindleyShitMom Tue 20-Sep-16 13:14:58

OP wrt passwords and PINs. Write them down. Seriously, card thieves and hackers don't break into your house and spend time looking for PINs and passwords. Stick them in a plastic wallet and keep them somewhere random. Like a DVD case or under your cutlery tray.

JenLindleyShitMom Tue 20-Sep-16 13:16:19

For receipts I have a folder with alphabetical dividers. Bed linen would go under 'B' and be stored in chronological order.

JenLindleyShitMom Tue 20-Sep-16 13:17:06

Or you could purchase a small pocket diary and staple receipts to the page for the date you bought the item.

chaplin1409 Tue 20-Sep-16 13:20:58

For our receipts I brought an expanding plastic folder with sections in each section has a month on the tab. Receipt goes into the month I brought the item with the theory when I get back round to that month the following year I can get rid of the ones no longer needed.

ChipmunkSundays Tue 20-Sep-16 13:21:02

It is an interesting idea, the Kondo one. Do you think it would work with a slight modification: one box file for banking, one for utilities, one for personals, one for receipts etc - but using the Kondo-style system of not bothering to file meticulously inside the box, just bunging it all in? Or is that an obvious disaster waiting to happen? I don´t think I have much of a knack for this!

JenLindley I think you are right about the passwords. They´ve been driving me mad. I will just have to think of a safe place in the house where they won´t get yanked out and left on the floor by the kids etc.

ChipmunkSundays Tue 20-Sep-16 13:22:19

Ooh, I like that idea chaplin. I guess most things wouldn´t get a refund after 1 year anyway.

Salmiak Tue 20-Sep-16 13:22:32

Bank statements are all online so you don't need to save them.paper ones are good to receive because you can read through them to check no one has been using your card, but then you just shred them.

Do you really need to keep utility bills - once again it's all online and once it's paid its done and you don't really need to keep the bill do you?

If you prefer paper work then get an a4 file and about 5 plastic wallets - name them house stuff, dc1, dc2, my stuff, then just put the receipts into the correct slot. So if dc1 shoes wear out too quickly then it's in the dc1 segment, or medical letter for him are in that segment but sheet receipts would be in house stuff bit. Would that work?

BikeRunSki Tue 20-Sep-16 13:22:34

We have a narrow 6 drawer filling caninet. About £20 from IKEA. One drawer for passports, driving licenses etc; 1 for recruits and warranties; 1 for tax and work stuff etc.

JenLindleyShitMom Tue 20-Sep-16 13:23:56

On top of the kitchen cupboards (the high up ones) is a common place for me to stash things I do t want DCs to get.

ChipmunkSundays Tue 20-Sep-16 13:25:27

Thanks, Salmiak, I think the file with different sections is a very good idea. A bit like the version I was thinking about a minute ago.

Bank statements I do have to keep, unfortunately, because my bank warn you that they won´t store them beyond a certain period of time. 1 year, I think it is.

Really appreciating all the ideas - thank you!

jajeb Tue 20-Sep-16 19:56:30

I file everything electronically using Evernote and Scannable on my iPhone. If the receipt comes by email, I just send it from my email straight into Evernote. If it is a paper receipt, I take a picture with Scannable and send it to Evernote and bin the receipt. For receipts that I need to keep until a certain date e.g. for warranty, I "tag" them with the expiry date and then go through once in a while and delete everything tagged "expire Sept 2016" for example. You don't have to sort receipts into different files in Evernote unless you like the organization, because everything is searchable.

ToastieRoastie Tue 20-Sep-16 21:32:57

I file things in folders during the year and then store them all in a big pile at the end of ear and start same system for next year. I also throw away all the paperwork from 4/5 years ago every time I store a new year of info, unless it's essential to keep (e.g. Mortgage).

Loose headings are...
House stuff. This is bills, utilities, council tax, boiler service etc. I keep a seperate folder for mortgage as I need to keep that for longer (when I do my throwing things away after 4 years).
Banking and credit cards. All the statements get chucked in here.
Personal stuff. Medical things, kids things, etc.
Important receipts and guarantees. Only the ones I really need to keep hold of.
A seperate box for random receipts. I throw these away periodically as unlikely to need them.

I tried the Marie Kondo method but need a bit more organisation. However I don't spend time faffing about storing things individually in masses of folders - just the broad categories above. I put new items at the front so they are vaguely in date order.

queenoftheschoolrun Tue 20-Sep-16 21:43:22

I have a lever arch folder and file everything I need to keep chronologically. I fill about two a year but then find I can discard questions lot of the previous years documents e.g. receipts and guarantees which are no longer valid and just keep financial statements. I hardly ever need to go back more than 12 months so just have two folders to look through. Prior to this system I tried various methods, different folders for different types of paperwork but the problem was I would put off filing and then have piles of papers. Now everyday I just pop that day's post into my folder. So much easier.

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