We are crazy about paper and creating a place for every piece of paper in our home! We are going through an 8-week organizing paper series and today we are wrapping up with reference files. Which is any paper you need to refer to, but not on a daily basis like our actions files. For most of us, we’re talking about the main filing cabinet in our home.
*If you are new to our paper party series, catch up on what we have conquered so far.
For me, my reference files are where I keep most of my paperwork including:
Really, any paper still left after our 8 weeks organizing paper series can find a home in reference files.
Our 1st Step-
1. Contain in one Place
There are many options besides a traditional filing cabinet for files. The smaller, portable options make filing easy and convenient, well almost.
Whether you have a file drawer, cabinet, rolling cart, bin or box, be sure to create that one permanent place to store your files.
In our condo, since my desk was in the main living space, our file drawer was hidden away in the cabinet work-space.
In my current home, the file box (our filing cabinet) is stored away in our linen closet in the hall. The beauty of having a small action file is being able to store your long-term files out of sight since I only access them once every other month or so.
What papers do you really need to keep? Be honest with yourself as you go through your piles of paper, (especially lifestyle files). Of course we need to keep important records but for how long?
The No-brainer Toss List
- Records for big purchases you not longer own
- Bank statements and utility bills over 1 year old (after everything has been reconciled and unless needed for taxes)
- Expired insurance
- Monthly Investment account statement when you already have quarterly or yearly statements
- Multiple copies of an outdated resume
Ask yourself as you sort, “What is the likelihood I will need this paper again?”
What exactly do you keep in your reference files? I made a handy, dandy little reference sheet of sample file categories. This is by no means a be all, end all to your filing; just to spark ideas.
Now here comes the hard work- the actual filing! But it doesn’t have to be hard. Check out my 7 tips to make filing super easy!
My #1 tip today– it doesn’t have to be pretty, for now (You can always put it on your list of things to do later). The idea that your files have to be color coordinated with label-made tabs keeps so many from organizing their papers altogether. Don’t let perfection stop you from getting organized! Here’s the proof.
No it is not a blogging beauty aka Pinterest worthy, but it is real life complete with stuffed animals in the background. I file my paper, grab a new file when I need one, scribble on the name, close the drawer and get on with life. Give yourself permission to do the same!
How do you keep all your reference file organized and easy to access? What is on your no-brainer toss list? Have you taken the time to make eye-pleasing files? Does it motivate you to file? Share your tips in the comments below.
If you are new to our party, catch up on what we have conquered so far.
Give yourself a little pat on the back for following along and taking control of your paper!
- Week 1 Taxes
- Week 2 Important docs
- Week 3 Medical Paperwork
- Week 4 Archival- Focusing on Children’s Schoolwork
- Week 5 Manuals and Warranties
- Week 6 Home Binder
- Week 7 Project Basket
- Week 8 Action Files
- Week 9 Reference Files
- Week 10 Paper Management