How to file

Day 29 – 30 Days to Love the Home You Have

by Cybele
Still no posters so we’re going to skip ahead a day to paperwork.
Accountants are sexy! It must be true I saw it on a bumper sticker once. And my mum is an accountant, so I can’t be too disparaging.
I may not be a huge fan of cleaning or admin, but I understand the importance of both in a happy, healthy home. My theory with both is to create the most painless systems possible, so I can carry on the rest of my life without thinking about this stuff too much.

The administration…

I set aside one hour a week to sort out all the paperwork and I stick to it, so that the rest of the time I don’t have to think about it. Hence, I have an Inbox and an Action box.
Inbox is where everything goes during the week before I have looked at it.
Action are things that might be ongoing in nature and I wasn’t able to deal with in one sitting.

Storing paperwork

Weren’t we meant to be paper free by now? I do get quite a few of my bills by email, but I tend to have the ones I need for tax mailed to me to keep for records.
Label all the files in your folder or filing cabinets consistently. Mine are filed by document type, but some people prefer by month, etc.
Now, I need to ask an expert to help me develop a system for all my online files and record keeping and do a post on it. I would love to hear what you do.

The annual purge

Once a year, I fiddle with my drawers, my filing cabinet drawers that is, and below are the guidelines I follow, but you would need to check with your accountant or tax office, as everyone’s circumstances (and countries!) have different requirements. During the annual purge, I move the files from my more accessible filing cabinet to my storage boxes and as I add the new files I take out the oldest.
Personal letters and cards
Tax returns
Warranties, receipts, user guides (for life of product)
Keep for Seven Years
Credit card statements
Mortgage statements
Bank statements
Investment statements (keep initial statement for life of investment)
Deductible business receipts
Deductible business bills
Keep for Three Years
Insurance policy renewals
Keep for One Year
Utility bills
Rent receipts
The good thing about getting all the paperwork out of the way is that only fun stuff is left in the last remaining days. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to need to put my feet up for a bit after this.
Cybele x

I would love to hear how you make paperwork less painful.

About BlahBlahMagazine

Cybele Masterman (Bele) trained as a beauty therapist, aromatherapist and journalist. After working as all of the above has found herself on a quest for a beautiful and meaningful life that doesn't cost the earth. Follow on google: +blahblahmagazine twitter: @blahblahzine or Instagram: BlahBlahMagazine

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  1. I love your suggestions! I too have two in-trays – one general catch-all where things can stay for the financial year and one more urgent ‘to action’ (usually in the next couple of weeks). For the seven years’ worth of stuff and old letters – a filing cabinet.

    Still working out how to store all the online stuff but I keep a running excel sheet that tabulates all expenditure etc…and then the receipts and statements are in one messy pile (I figure I’ll never really need it, unless I’m audited, and then they can sort through it!).

    Also I’ve just signed up to pay $10 a month to Dropbox, to which I copied over everything on my desktop… I’ve also been recommended Time Machine (if you’re on a Mac), which apparently creates an exact replica of your desktop content from whichever year you are searching for….

  2. Lisa,
    They’re great ideas. Is it just me or is filing like memory recall? Sure all the things go in my brain or files, but finding it again or remembering is the tricky part.I think I might have a look at Drop box. I have used Time Machine for general back up and that has been pretty good x

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