Filing doesn’t mean just storing your paperwork, it’s all about the ease of retrieval. There are no hard and fast rules about what should be filed where… it is entirely up to you. As a first step, take some time to bring all your paperwork together, determine what you have and work out the best plan for you.
I file my household paperwork in three ways, depending on the category:
- Important personal documents are filed in a “Grab File” binder for each family member. This includes birth certificates, marriage certificates, examination certificates, passport and visa copies, ID copies. All the things that we would need to grab if the house was on fire.
- Medical records and school records are filed in a separate ringbinder for each family member. I use ringbinders as it is these kinds of records that I often need to take with me to the doctor or the school – being in a binder and not a filing cabinet makes them easy to take along when I need them.
- Everything else is filed away in a small filing cabinet, for example, paperwork relating to our cars, our cats’ vet records and house maintenance documentation.
My email folders and electronic files on my laptop and DropBox mirror the categories and sub-categories of my paperwork filing, so that I can easily cross-reference everything. If you are storing information digitally, remember to back-up regularly. I back up my laptop once a week to an external hard drive and there are copies of everything important on DropBox too.
These methods work for me and my household – let me know what strategies work for you!