In todays blog, I will be teaching you a few ways to handle all that paperwork that seems to pile up. I purposely stretched this project out so that you could prepare for what lies ahead.

DEVELOPING A PLAN
Hopefully, after reading- you will adopt some of these strategies. Once you change your habits, these strategies will become routine for you and your way of dealing with file management will be different.

Since we have already purged most of our files and have them organized by person, it will be easier to set up your system. You will see that organizing by person makes all steps involved simpler and not as time consuming.

TIME TO GET STARTED
Grab the first persons pile.
Divide this pile into like-type piles. If you did some of the primary categories when we purged, these categories should be easy to identify. We will also be identifying our sub-categories as well.

Here are examples of files you would find in each category
* IMPORTANT: birth certificate, Social Security Card, Immunization Record
* SCHOOL: HIGH SCHOOL, MIDDLE SCHOOL, ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
* COLLEGE: INFORMATION, SCHOLARSHIPS, LOANS, MISC FINANCE/ACCOUNTING, HOUSING, SCHEDULES
** INFORMATION: letters from the college
** SCHOLARSHIPS: files pertaining to scholarships
** LOANS: files pertaining to loans
** MISC FINANCE/ACCOUNTING: Financial papers pertaining to items not related to schol/loans
** HOUSING: room assignments
** SCHEDULES: semester schedules
* MEDICAL: Current medical bills
* PAID IN FULL: Any bill that is Paid in Full
* RECEIPTS: Misc Receipts

Once you have identified your categories and sub-categories, you can start printing out your labels. If you do not use a label-maker or a template (i.e. Avery software) please make sure to PRINT CLEARLY WITH A FINE TIP SHARPIE.

Never use a pencil to print labels. Even fading occurs with pen, so I recommend using a fine tip Sharpie to print labels.

Once you have everything in order and sorted-its now time to start labeling and placing in folders. Be sure to use a pocket folder if you have alot of like-type papers.

We are going to be doing some minor tuning to what we have and to make sure that something did not get mis-categorized. This also means that we should be double-checking to see if someone elses stuff is mixed in.

MOVING RIGHT ALONG
Once you have completed filing and labeling for that person, its time to move on to the next person.

Please be aware that I have assumed that the first pile you would grab would be a childs and not your own. For an adult, the categories can be similar-only adding an EMPLOYMENT category.

In this category, you would find: W-2s, employment contracts and the like. I also include tax information under my employment category.

Once all the members of your household have their files organized and filed, its time to move onto the HOUSEHOLD category.

Household sub-categories will include: Utilities, Vehicles, Home, Insurance, Warranties, Instruction Manuals

Again, double check what you have in your piles to make sure you are starting off right.

Once you have all your paperwork labeled and filed, take a break and reward yourself. This process does take time and deserves a reward.

BREAKS OVER
Now that you did all that hard work, you need to develop a routine to keep your file management system straight.

In a previous blog, I suggested that you open your mail near the area you keep your files. You should also keep a recycle bin and a shredder nearby. This will alleviate having your papers scattered throughout your house.

I also suggest filing your papers as soon as your fingers touch them. There is no logic in placing a paper somewhere and then picking it up later to file it away. There is no excuse for not filing now that you have spent this time setting up an easy to use system.

I also shred old utility bills once I receive the current one- as long as I have received the proper crediting for the previous billing cycle. This also helps keeping your files from becoming stagnant.

Choosing one day a week to pay your bills makes filing go a little quicker. If you plan which bills to pay each week, you can also save some time.

MAINTENANCE
I like to go thru my filing cabinet twice a year. If nothing else, it allows me to make sure that there are no unneccesary papers still lingering. This is most helpful when going thru your Household files.

SOME HELPFUL HINTS
* If you no longer own an item, you do not need to keep the Instruction Manual or warranty information.
* If you change insurance carriers or your policy has been renewed, you can shred the previous policy.
* Once you receive your W2 and the amounts match your last paystub of the year, you can shred the paystubs for that year.

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