Friday, February 19, 2010

Clearing out "Valuable Real Estate" (Thx, Nester!)

For how much we have gone to being an "e" society, there sure is a ton of PAPER in our lives. I am amazed at the sheer quantity that enters our house on a day to day basis. Mr. Wonderful is an electronics-oriented person, and he helps bring me into the 20th century. So when we started combining our files (read: PAPER) he wanted to get a scanner/printer/copier, scan our old papers in, and recycle the documents. What I heard? DECLUTTER! Yay! I'm all in.

As you can see, it is kind of a messy process. It took some time to get them all in, decide what we needed to still keep a paper copy of, and shred the old ones. But all our documents now fit in half a file drawer. It doesn't take long to keep up with the new documents either. I have a "to scan" file on top of our desk. Handy dandy. We try to do a good job of going through our mail regularly, and recycling things we don't want right away. But we fail a lot more than we succeed at that! Who am I kidding? You've seen my desk.
Here's what we DID keep:
  • receipts for major purchases
  • pay stubs for the current year
  • retirement documents
  • tax documents for the past 7 years
  • Investment documents
  • Some important medical/dental/vision benefit statements

The rest is stored on our hard drive (and backed up). We ended up using the ABC method for organizing our paper documents.

A is for Action. Action documents are anything that we need to take action on. To pay, to mail, etc.

B is for Basic. These are our basic working documents that we will add to over time. Pay stubs, bills, receipts, etc.

C is for classic. Classic documents are those that we don't use on a monthly basis, but are very important. Birth certificates, wills, deeds, etc.

Action documents are generally stored on our desktop file for easy access. Basic and classic documents are stored in our file cabinet or on our computer.

I got most of these ideas from other websites, like Want What You Have and Flylady.

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