I think it’s the technical term of nesting. I’ve been in sort through and get rid of stuff mode and it’s slightly out of control.
I might have hinted at how going through our closet earlier this week led to a large amount of garage sale items, but I figured a picture might do better justice:
A portion of the garage sale pile!
And I only wish I had taken a picture of all the trash from going through our files. I filled a trash bag and a half! I’m only hoping I don’t regret all this getting rid of stuff in a few months when I’m no longer pregnant!
What made the project of organizing the desk and files even better though was that I decided to 100% use only what I had on hand- so it was completely free! :) I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve bought binders or file folders or what have you based on someone’s amazing blog post on how they organized their files and how much it helped them. Number one rule I now have- do what works for you! Just because so-and-so loves to have a handwritten budget and pay bills biweekly doesn’t mean you will or do! And just because it looks pretty doesn’t mean it will function well for you either. I’m going to share what I did not because I want anyone to go out and do the same thing if their system currently works, but because I would love to help someone still searching for a system AND in large part because I’m really proud of myself for not spending a cent but still getting my stuff organized! :)
So the first part of what I did was go through my current files. I will admit, Leah’s post at Fabulously Organized Home helped me figure out categories and get a handle on starting the sorting process, which seemed a little daunting when I was staring at three huge piles of slightly organized chaos. Once I got started it didn’t take much time. I ended up using only three categories- money, health, and other. Part of this is because all of our “important documents,” such as birth certificates, social security cards, and such are in a locked fire and waterproof box. I also have a “household operations” binder that I find more useful than having files, so that eliminated the “household” category for me (and I’ll talk more about the binder later). Then I kind of merged community and leisure into one “other” category since I didn’t have a lot to put in these sections since most of the stuff that does relate here is tucked in my “household operations” binder. Like I said- I’m completely just doing what works for me.
Next I had to decide what I wanted to do with all of my files. Part of why I wanted to reorganize my files was because I wanted to empty out my desk, which I talked in a previous post how I might be turning into a vanity or coming up with some other amazing purpose for since we now have a built-in desk in our kitchen. I was at a little bit of a loss since I really only had space in the desk area for a few binders, but knew I wanted a filing system. I LOVE the idea of having a mini office in a chest, like shown on Martha Stewart’s website here, but a) I don’t have a trunk right now and that messed with the whole doing this for free thing and b) I didn’t really know where I’d put a trunk. After debating for awhile, I remembered my brother got me a handy dandy file thing for Christmas that was somewhere in my house. After a little bit of searching I found it:
Yay for free filing systems! :)
I’m pretty sure my brother probably got this at Walmart, in case you’re wondering, though I don’t know for sure.
Anyway though, now I had my free filing system and sorted piles, so now I just had to file. I only had a small supply of file folders and my filing system came pre-labeled with months and the alphabet, so once again I improvised a little using (don’t judge me!) masking tape. Like I said- I was all about free! Here’s a shot of what the inside of my files look like:
I wasn’t worried about it looking pretty or anything since it will be closed most of the time and I’ll be the only one really seeing it, but I don’t think it looks AWFUL or anything!
You can’t tell super well in the picture but here’s how I broke it down:
Money green circles used to indicate money related files
-paid bills- these I sorted by month and then alphabetically. A lot of our bills are fully online, so this system works well for us. If we still had a lot of paper bills I’d probably want separate files for each company. And in case you’re wondering how we keep records of online bills, I have a spreadsheet I use for budgeting that I use to track them and I also write down the confirmation numbers in my check register as I update that.
-bank statements- these are also mostly online and I reconcile weekly with what has posted to my account, but we do have one account that still has paper statements.
-job info- this file houses Corey’s work papers, including the union contract, benefit packages, and pension information and statements.
-résumé- even though I’m currently self-employed and stay home I have my most recent résumé on file as well as Corey’s, just because it’s nice to have handy and ready since you never know! I also have a few college papers in here that relate to getting a job and such!
-home insurance- pretty self explanatory :)
-auto insurance- also pretty self explanatory :)
Health blue circles used to indicate health related files
-medical info- this houses test results and just general informational packets you’ll get from the doctor.
-medical bills- any bills from the medical group and hospital go here once they’re paid. I mark on them the date they were paid, the amount I paid, and the check or confirmation number.
-vision and dental bills- same concept as the medical bills, only for our eyes and teeth!
-health insurance statements- organized by date… Because I’ll be honest that’s about all I understand on these! :)
-misc.- I have a few workouts I’ve torn from magazines and such that are in this file.
Other red circles used to indicate other files
-travel plans- currently we are planning a summer vacation to Louisville, Kentucky, so all my information regarding that is here! :)
-misc.- anything else! There were way too many random categories to make a file for each one, so all the other papers I had that didn’t fall elsewhere went here.
And there you have it! :) Well, the file portion anyway. Once I get the painting stuff cleared out of the kitchen the filing system will be slid under the desk towards the back. I think it’ll be nice and convenient! :)
Then there is my cupboards with my binders:
The cupboard above the desk. Sorry for the blurry photo.
The paper taped on the cupboard has important contact info and such. I just added it yesterday, so we will see if I missed anything important as time goes by! :)
And on to my binders. The maroon colored binder on the end was left to us by the previous owners. They were incredibly organized and kept all the information on pretty much every update they ever did to the house! Next to that binder is the Jeep binder. Though we own three other vehicles besides the Jeep (yes, it is a little ridiculous!), the Jeep is the only one we bought brand new. I keep all the service records and such in this binder. The other vehicles we will either drive till they drop, or got secondhand so don’t track the maintenance as closely. Then there is the pay stubs binder. Each week Corey’s pay stub gets three hole punched and popped in this binder, easy-peasy! :)
The last binder is the big one- the home operations binder. The front pocket has deposit slips, stamps, and other lose items that I like to keep on hand. Then comes the different sections of the binder- first is the “pending” section. All unpaid bills or mail that I need to act on but haven’t yet go here. Once the item has been paid or acted on, it’s moved to the files. Next is the “cleaning” tab. I have my weekly to do list here put in a sheet protector so I can check it off with a dry erase marker. I also have my yearly to do list where I track things like checking smoke detector batteries and bigger spring and seasonal cleaning tasks. After that is my “important information” section. This holds vital information that is also in my fireproof and waterproof box, but that I need a copy of on a fairly regular basis or at least want to have somewhere convenient- such as account contact numbers. The last tab is the “birthdays/holidays” one, and I’m awful at keeping it updated, but I do have a sheet to list all important birthdays and once Christmas comes I will keep my lists and such here. That’s all that’s in this binder so far, but it will likely be added to and change as time goes on!
And I might as well quickly explain the other items in my cupboard while I’m at it! :)
Obviously the box of envelopes is pretty self-explanatory. Then the next shelf has my three hole punch, stapler, and phone and address books. The top shelf has my file where hopefully I can be as organized as the previous owners and keep all of the house update information, as well as my files for both personal and babysitting receipts organized by month. I have a tin on the desk where all receipts go and then once a month (except I slacked last month so this month I’ll have two months to do!) I sort through them and file.
Lots and lots of receipts!
The only other items I have then are located at the command center. It’s not quite finished but I shared this almost finished picture earlier:
I just need to make the hook area under the weekly planner and basket for papers and I can check this project off of the list! :)
Here I keep Corey’s work schedule, Sunday School teaching schedules, invites and save the dates, and coupons. It works out pretty well. Oh, and the notebook that I keep track of babysitting hours, mileage, and payments is here too, as is the notebook that lists our meal ideas (the actual meal plan is saved on my iPad, then each week I write it out on the week planner as well as any activities we have that week). Hopefully that all makes sense! :)
And I think that’s it! :)
So now I can officially say my desk area is organized AND was free! Not too shabby of a start to my weekend, if I do say so myself! :)
Hope you all have a wonderful, fun, and safe Memorial Day Weekend! And a big thank you too all our troops! :)