Here’s one way that I began filing some of our paper crap a couple of years ago. Document boxes like the Bigso Oskar from Amazon.
I have 5 of them now. They represent categories of paper filing which I need to stash things regularly.
The first four boxes relate to taxes, and at the end of year will all go into the year’s tax file in the filing cabinet. One big fat file annually. But, in the current year, I keep these things as separate categories, one box per category:
Box #1 Current Year’s bills and receipts – stuff I may never look at again, but you know you save it for 7 years in case you get audited. And I don’t sub-file any of it. Spent check carbons go in here. Credit card bills, cell phone bills, etc.
Box #2 – HSA / FSA / billing stuff for the current year (tax related). I can put a health bill in there as well as insurance statements. Then if/when I need to I can match them up or look in there to see what’s happened.
Box #3 – Current year tax stuff. Other tax documents that don’t fit in the other boxes. Jan-Feb, I start putting in tax forms as they arrive. I also put in charitable contributions and other property tax stuff throughout the year.
Box #4 has job expense receipts.
Box #5 is a long-standing box that doesn’t get filed. It’s just to keep things in, look pretty and ready-reference. This is the Banking Box. But, I do NOT put bank statements in here. Those actually go in the Current Year’s Bills box (above). What I DO put in here are new checkbooks that haven’t been used yet. And, any credit cards that are effective but we don’t want to carry in our wallets. PIN numbers. If an account gets closed, anything related to it gets cleaned out of here.
P.S. I also have a bigger box that I got at IKEA that holds a big stack of manuals for home appliances, tools, bikes, etc. No filing there either, because the time it takes to file is wasted. How often do you actually need to find something? As long as you know which box to look in, just dig through there if you really have to.
I would love to hear how you are downsizing your crap (or organizing it).