Friday, February 15, 2013

Getting Organized, Part Two

I'm particularly excited about this area of organization because I was horribly bogged down with paperwork from everything flying about everywhere and generally found it too overwhelming to do much about digging myself out from it.

This also came from an idea from Pinterest, from this pin as a matter of fact:
Source: via Alicia on Pinterest

...but I really took the initial idea and ran with it to a new level (and I'm not sure I ever actually read that post - the image was really helpful, though!). 

Basically what it amounts to is a cabinet dedicated to binders for household and school paperwork (one shelf for each). My modus operandi is basically to dedicate a binder to each area of complex paperwork, i.e. paperwork which can't just simply be filed but that needs to be referenced or attended to on a regular basis. A few of them aren't so much about organizing paperwork per se, but paperwork related information, such as passwords for various websites.

Here is a picture of part of the cabinet (about 1/4 of the binders):

This project cost me about $100 in binders and binder dividers/organizers (various sorts of tabbed dividers, tab stickers and a big box of sheet protectors, which also make lovely pockets). The cost was actually pretty low because I was able to re-purpose a bunch of binders that were no longer being used in other places (Because of this, it's not as picture perfect as the Pinterest version, but I really am not bothered by this in the least!). I've been using this system for about six months now and I LOVE it!!!

The best way to share this project, I think, is to write up a list of those that might be useful for others to consider and then pull out a few sample binders to describe for you in more detail - there are lots of odds and ends besides these.

Budget and Spending (at the moment this consists of bank and credit card statements)

College Finances (This is organized into the following categories: tuition, financial aid, student loan, taxes and bookstore)

House (for keeping receipts, paint color info and anything else useful)

Medical Stuff (I actually have four binders in this realm - Orthodontics, Dentist, Medical and one just for our primary care doctor's clinic - these are organized according to need. Medical is divided according to our needs for submitting information to get reimbursed from our HSA or FSA or whatever that thing is. The clinic one is organized by family member.)

Repeatables Calendar (a permanent place to record birthdays and other happenings that I want to remember EVERY year - I have a page each in each month divider for family stuff, financial stuff, school stuff, etc.)

Taxes (I use pocket dividers here to collect paperwork throughout the year in the following categories: Income, House, Charity, College, Interest, Invesment)

Vital Records (no more running up and down the basement stairs every time I need to reference one of these - yay!)

Warranties (This is mostly a bundle of sheet protectors with sticky tabs to organize them alphabetically and make sense out of what's in each pocket.)

Manuals (Pretty much the same as above, but a much thicker binder!)

Here are a few pictures of the College Finance binder to give you an idea...

The kids helped me make the cover pages. :)

 Table of contents for College Finances binder.

I love having the sheet protectors ready to handle important paperwork until I have a chance to work on it - such as this financial aid application, which I need to tackle tomorrow.


Lena said...

looks good. i love how you just went for it, not worried about the aesthetics, only focused on the functional. i could use a lesson in that area.

i always have an organizational project looming but get too caught up in making it perfect that the projects fall off my to-do list. i need to JUST DO IT - ALL FOR!

thanks for the motivation!

Alicia VH said...

Just do it! ;)