Home organisation - where should all of the manuals and useful information live?(18 Posts)
Does anyone have any advice about keeping some kind of home file? Despite being organised in other areas of my life, I am completely clueless when it comes to this.
Everything has a place in my home, except for the paperwork. Between us, DH and I put some of it into a draw, some of it into a pile, some of it into a fireproof box with no sections. It’s in the garage, the spare room, our bedroom, the kitchen. It’s ridiculous.
It’s come to a crux as I can’t remember how to change the settings for the central heating and can’t find the sodding manual anywhere. I want to have a file somewhere with all of the manuals in it for reference (once I find the things!) when needed.
Then there’s the rest of it…
Where should I keep my marriage certificate? What about my mortgage documents? How about when I book a holiday and there is paperwork to do with it? Or work contracts and career documents?
It is endless and I’m so confused. Are there any systems out there that I should be following to make sense of it all? I’d be grateful for any pearls of wisdom anyone can share.
We have an old filing cabinet in a room we use as an office which paperwork goes into. We have a box file with manuals in in cupboard in the hall.
We have 2 box files full of manuals - 1 for kitchen stuff and 1 for outdoor/garden stuff on a shelf in the kitchen. Upstairs in the study/spare bedroom we have a filing cabinet which has documents we don't refer to often in like passports, policies etc. On bookshelf in study have things used often like bank acct, work files etc. HTH. And you need to keep culling to keep it under control.....
Thanks for sharing your strategies.
I’m a stationary addict, thinking of getting some nice ring binders and box files to use once I’ve devised a system.
Good advice about culling it. I appear to have hoarded every payslip I’ve received over nearly 2 decades. I think the shredder will be getting the most action it’s ever had tonight.
I got my method from MN.
We have a box file. Every bit of paper that is to be kept goes in it. No sorting. When the box is full we write the date on it and start a new box. If you are like us, you hardly ever need to take anything out so on those rare occasions rooting through the box for, say, a council tax bill, is OK.
We have a separate fireproof box for passports, birth certificates and similar.
We do not keep paper manuals. They are all available on the internet. We download them as and when needed.
For lots of temporary important paper, like those holiday letters or hospital appointment letters, we take a photo then bin the paper. We get confirmations by email as much as possible rather than on paper.
We have a scanner but rarely use it now.
Don't make a system involving sorting things into correct piles, hole punching etc. You won't do it and piles of random papers will exist in various places around your house. Then you will feel guilty and overwhelmed. Immediate photo and bin, or, bung in the box file immediately.
Sort through and weed out the paperwork associated with stuff you no longer have.
Buy one of these expanding files or something like it and keep the instructions in some sort of alphabetical order.
B - Boiler
C - Camera
D - Dyson
H - Hoover
M - Miele
V - Vacuum cleaner
whatever floats your boat, but be consistent.
Keep it seperate from the guarantees and any extended warranties which you keep with the receipts.
Keep the guarantees and receipts somewhere safe and locked away.
Keep the expanding file to hand.
I have 2 physical places.
- Important originals are filed in a lever arch binder in plastic sheets (birth, marriage certificates and the like)
- Manuals are kept in a plastic document box from Rymans and kept in the "everything else" drawer in the kitchen.
Anything else is scanned and loaded via a Scansnap scanner to a personal hard drive and copied to Google Drive. I find it incredibly useful having the bulk of our personal documents available at our finger tips via our phones. 2 step verification is essential if you use Google Drive or other cloud systems.
My boiler is in an airing cupboard and I keep the manual in there in a plastic wallet. Saved my bacon a few times when it’s not working and I need to work out why. Other manuals I try and keep near where they’re being used eg vacuum, blender etc in my garage (door from kitchen to there and kitchen too small to store them there). Important papers in a fire proof box (again, in garage). Other manuals in a box file under my bed sub divided into plastic wallets ‘tv’, ‘computer’, ‘garden’ etc.
Of course the manuals are available online! Well that sorts out my problem with the heating, thank you Rabbit. I will cross manuals off my list of things to organise.
I really like the idea of taking a photo of paperwork instead of keeping the hard copy. I always do this with party invitations received by the dc, I will extend it to all appointments now.
I will have to look into GoogleDrive as I’m not sure what it is. I like the idea of reducing the amount of paper in the house, and this sounds like it will help with that.
So, I think I need to use the fireproof box for original certificates (marriage / birth / death / qualifications / mortgage / insurances), and then have a transient file for things like holiday information. Everything else: photo and shred, look up online, use GoogleDrive if I can get the measure of it.
Upload manual from website and recycle the manual that came with the machine/device.
These we save to GoogleDrive which is cloud storage.
All our insurance/copies of passports etc are on the drive. That way you can access it from anywhere.
I am hoping to take photos of everything important that the children have drawn or written and upload them too. That way they can see them without wading through a box.
we have a box file where we chuck in all manuals.
and another one where we chuck in all the flatpack furniture instructions.
We have a few A4 folders which are as follows
This includes all details regarding the purchase of house, mortgage details, payments Council tax, House and contents insurances. Any purchases regarding fixtures and fittings are all filed in here. We have house & garden plan details, plus room details, which come in handy when decorating.
Anything work related, plus current years salary slips and tax papers go in this folder. All pension related paperwork is also filed here. The cars paperwork is also kept here. Once full it's put into a storage box in the attic.
I live in europe, have to pay for healthcare here so all paperwork regarding healthcare insurance.
All current years banking statement, plus credit card statements and insurances policies. These are put away after a few years into storage in attic.
Invoices and Receipts
This folder is divided into 2 sections first half contains utility bills gas, electric,water, waste,tv, internet etc. All other purchases from electrical items, furniture, clothes etc
Current folder (a slimmer A4 folder) which contains some of the current year paperwork. It also holds tax information, which is dealt with twice a year house and personal tax. All house bills, once these has been dealt with they are filed the following year into relevant folders. I also have stamps, envelopes, cards as well as photocopies of passports and driving licences in here.
We have a single bookcase document rack, where all post and paperwork is lodged until we do admin.This also contains any appointment cards.
All manuals are put in their own plastic sleeve which are all labelled with date of purchase and kept in a drawer. I prefer paper manuals, I like to have the manual in front of me if I have to resolve an issue.
I keep all paperwork, I prefer to have paper, although I do have scanned copies of important stuff as well.
we have a strong box for passports, certs and foreign currency, and insurance cards.
Instructions and guarantees for kitchen stuff and nearby items (boiler & alarm) are in plastic wallet in kitchen drawer. I staple receipt and guarantee to the instructions and write on the front of each the date purchased and length of guarantee.
Instructions and guarantees for other stuff is all in two big plastic wallets labelled ‘House’.
Fireproof box containing marriage/birth certificates, passports etc.
Filing box or labelled ring binders containing financial paperwork - mortgage, pensions, utilities, council tax.
Before having child I was rigorous about shredding stuff once it was over seven years old. Haven’t had time since! ;-)
Manuals for major household appliances live in a drawer in the kitchen. Have a separate box file for receipts and guarantees (general) and another for receipts and guarantees (child related). Key life docs are in desk drawer. Other separate files include: bank, car, insurance, utilities, school, medical, etc
I put all of my manuals in a file. I clip the receipt and guarantee to the front. Other important documents are all together in one of those expanding plastic file boxes.
Appointment cards go in a pocket on the kitchen calendar. Manuals live in a document wallet in the dresser and I have an expanding filing box for important paperwork that lives next to the bed. During the year all the receipts, pay slips and bills go in a stack in the glasses cabinet. I go through that once a year when I do the tax returns and either file them with the tax return paperwork or in the filing box.
In addition to the nice sensible storage I also stick things under the fruit dish.
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