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How do you store all your household paperwork?

(32 Posts)
feedmenow Sat 23-Aug-08 11:07:30

I need ideas and I need them fast!

Have tried a few different methods over the years (filing cabinet, box files in cupboard, paper wallets in boxes, etc, etc) but just don't seem able to store my paperwork in a way that works.

How do other people do it? And how often do you file it all? And WHERE do you actually keep it - bedroom, living room?

Am so sick of piles of paper everywhere!

posieflump Sat 23-Aug-08 11:09:39

we have a filing cabinet in the dining room
I put all my stuff in asap

dh , on the other hand, leaves his lying around all over the dining room table until I succumband file it for him

sarah293 Sat 23-Aug-08 11:11:16

Message withdrawn

Nbg Sat 23-Aug-08 11:11:24

We have a small filing cabinet with those A4 sliding file thingys in them. (I cant think of the actual name for them)
Then they are all in sections, so house stuff like rates, council tax, tv license that sort of thing, bank statements, phone bills, mobile bills, wage slips, kids stuff like child benefit and trust fund.

We also have a little cardboard 3 drawer thing that sits in the kitchen where most of the clutter comes from. So any post that is opened goes in there and every so often I go through it and file it or chuck it out.

bellavita Sat 23-Aug-08 11:37:45

We have two boxes that have individual pockets inside which are each labelled.

Downstairs I have pending tray for stuff which will need to be sorted out in the near future.

When we get post, it either gets binned, put in the shredder for the next session, put it in pending, or filed in one of the said boxes.

I keep credit card statements for about 3 months and then shred.

Bank statements I keep for 3 years and then shred.

littleducks Sat 23-Aug-08 11:40:58

i have in an expanding file that may have now expanded to its limit

dh keeps his either in a broken cardboard box or carrier bag with no order then insists i help him sift through papers when something inportant is required URGENTLY

RustyBear Sat 23-Aug-08 11:49:12

I spent most of the (rainy)summer half term reorganising our - filing cabinet, with files for each section & then folders inside for subsections - eg a files for car & a separate folder each car.

We have a 3 tier letter tray - the top one is meant to be for unread stuff, the middle for stuff we've looked at but need to do something about & the bottom one for stuff to be filed - but in practice it all seems to get dumped on the top - in fact you've reminded me that I need to get it sorted this weekend.

EffiePerine Sat 23-Aug-08 11:52:12

large basket thing known as the Basket Of Doom. Impossible to find anything without a major effort. There must be a better way...

ghosty Sat 23-Aug-08 11:59:13

I have a pile of stuff on the kitchen bench. Once a week I go through it and chuck out crap like last week's school newsletter etc etc and put the rest in a pile in our office. That pile gets bigger and bigger until I have a meltdown (once a month or so) and I file everything in a filing cabinet. I have sections labelled "Bank" with subsections labelled UK/NZ/Aus (the downside of moving everywhere and having bank accounts everywhere), Utilities, Car, Health, School, House (that includes things like rates/rent/mortgage - the downside of owning a house in one country but living in a rented one in another).

Then around tax time I have another meltdown and spend 3 days locked in said office putting everything in folders .... and making room for the next year's crap in aforementioned filing cabinet.

I don't see myself as an organised person and my 'system' would probably send a proper organised person into orbit but it kind of works for me.

crokky Sat 23-Aug-08 12:06:51

Before storing it, you need to strip it down to the essentials. The amount of paperwork that comes in the post for an ordinary family is shocking. There is 4 of us and we just have standard stuff, but still get mountains of paper. Any paperwork that contains informatin that can be found on the internet is binnable IMO. Any info that is duplicated elsewhere, bin.

We have:

-1 lever arch file for household and car stuff. Stuff needs to be thrown out of this regularly. eg bills, MOT cert etc
-1 lever arch file for money related stuff (mortgage, bank account, life ins, child trust fund etc). Stuff gets thrown out of here sometimes.
-I concertina sort of box file thingy (about 4 inches deep) for things like passports, birth certificates etc. Stuff that doesn't get thrown out.
-1 ordinary box file (instructions/guarantees/receipts etc). Throw stuff out regularly.


If I get an instruction manual in 20 languages, I cut out the (probably 2 or 3) English pages and recycle the manual. I really don't keep anything that I don't need!

LazyLinePainterJane Sat 23-Aug-08 12:08:29

I have a file with suspension files, that replaced an expanding file, but it now needs to be replaced as is too small, no matter how much I try and reduce it.

How about one of those little drawer units? Like this:
[ ikea]]

LazyLinePainterJane Sat 23-Aug-08 12:08:48


HeinzSight Sat 23-Aug-08 12:11:29

GREAT tips on this thread, my filing is a nightmare, we have a filing cabinet in the loft, but because it's in the loft, stuff doesn't very often get filed properly, it either ends up in kitchen drawer, on stairs, ready to go up, or in a kitchen cupboard. Have lost a really important document which I am quite stressed about blush, really need it too. Like the idea of lever arch files and shredding stuff over so many years old. We've kept receipts and bank statements which are really old.

I just don't seem to find the time to knuckle down and get it all sorted.

First step though, get a shredder.

Will keep watching this thread smile

elmoandella Sat 23-Aug-08 12:19:45

pile it up in a cupboard at front door till the cupboard wont shut.

transfer pile into shoe room in giant bag.

leave for several months.

finally get round to sorting it out into filing box in shoe room.

SqueakyPop Sat 23-Aug-08 12:20:04

I am exactly the same as you, feedmenow. I wish I could be different, but I've been like this since we were married 22 years ago.

I know how to do paperwork - put it in the filing cabinet - but I just never seem to be able to actually do it.

Our filing cabinet is in our bedroom. When post comes in, it wallows around downstairs until we have a mad moment to actually do something about it.

I think I need to completely empty the filing cabinet and re-do it from scratch. When we were first married, DH used to keep everything in very specific files, and what was important to us then is not important to us now.

HeinzSight Sat 23-Aug-08 12:28:09

Think I may have to do the same as you Squeaky, empty out and start again!

SqueakyPop Sat 23-Aug-08 12:30:21

It takes ages though - because you have to read everything and reminisce

maidamess Sat 23-Aug-08 12:33:07

I have a little Ikea wooden chest of 3 drawers labelled
Thats like my holding tray, my pending , if you will.

Then bits that need keeping go into small storage boxes.

Like the idea of ripping out just the English pages of Instructions books though.

Heated Sat 23-Aug-08 12:34:38

Like that Ikea one, LLPJ.

We have a big plastic lidded box for all major receipts and instruction books and 4 drawer filing cabinet in the garage but we do end up piling up paper in the utility room waiting to be filed.

We are good about recycling paper and dh gets a manly thrill shredding anything that has our personal details on it.

EyeballsintheSky Sat 23-Aug-08 12:57:24

How did you all know that I have just spent three hours surrounded by more paper than the Amazon could produce looking for the log book that DH had mislaid? Paper is the bane of my life so I desperately need organisation tips.

LazyLinePainterJane Sat 23-Aug-08 13:00:27

I like the drawers, DH covets them but I can never find one with enough drawers and I am too anal organised to combine categories in the same drawer grin

RustyBear Sat 23-Aug-08 13:13:25

I did the chuck everything out & start again bit in my grand re-organisation - it took about 3 days - the first day I spent the entire day sitting on the wooden floor with everything spread around me - woke up next morning & couldn't move....

When I went back to it I dumped all the piles on the dining table & did it in between sessions on MN (that was the day we did the speed-posting threads - 1000 posts in 4 hours 52 minutes 3 seconds was the record, and if anyone actually wants to know my folder headings, they are all listed on that thread...) It is very boring, but has really paid off, as I can now actually find things.

NumberFour Sat 23-Aug-08 13:23:35

Crokky, I LOVE your idea. May I nick it? Thanks.....................wink

crokky Sat 23-Aug-08 14:28:48


of course!

LoveMyGirls Sat 23-Aug-08 15:22:20

I have about 5 folders which is split into sections (they're all pretty full now though!) I've got a pile in a laundry basket on top of my wardrobe that needs to be filed in the right places, I've got a draw downstairs for paperwork that hasn't made it's way upstairs and I keep the stuff that needs to be dealt with by the computer, I'm going to try and find a few hours this weekend to sort it and do my accounts (haven't touched them since june despite me saying at the time, after spending 2 full days doing them that i would keep on top of them from now on!)

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