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Filing, Filing, Filing

February 26th, 2018

A few weeks ago, when I posted about my filing cleanup, a few of you wanted to know about the filing system I use. It all starts with these plastic file boxes and the regular green hanging file folders (and a package of colored ones for me, but those are not necessary). I keep records for both myself personally (personal and my small business), for my dad, and for the business I manage in one plastic file box. I print labels for each file folder, including one for each month of the year, one for taxes, accounting printouts, taxes, and any other categories I need to track. (often I use a red folder for taxes, a yellow for important documents, etc., something to easily set it apart from other files so I can quickly add documents).

The box lives right by my desk and as I need to file something, it goes right into the correct file. Typically, the current month is at the front and I move the months back as they are over. Filing things instantly is the best way to do it, there’s never any stack that needs filing. In some cases, I have files within the files. For my blog, I keep a regular file folder (non-hanging) inside the current month’s folder. Any necessary receipt for it gets put directly in this folder, it is then moved into the following month’s folder when that month starts. When the year is over, the box goes into the garage and a new one is started. When taxes need to be done, I simply have to grab my tax folder and all the necessary information is in that folder. It’s very rare that I have to search for an important paper or receipt that my accountant needs for my taxes.

I also keep a set of files that get moved from last years box to this year, things like insurance, car files, medical files, retirement accounts, etc. I also keep the previous year’s tax folder with return as well, in case I need to reference it.

After spending a day cleaning up old files, I decided that starting this year I was going to ruthless about what things I saved. My personal files are organized in such a way that I can simply empty out the monthly file folders after a few years, all important information is kept in the tax folder or the files that get moved each year.

Even though I keep very little nowadays in the way of filed papers, I’m hoping to cut down on it even more. This system makes it easy to deal with papers after a few years, anything that’s important is set aside throughout the year. When I didn’t have to keep business records, I used a pocket file box for each year. It worked beautifully, I even colored my labels to match.

Do you have a good filing system in place? What’s your biggest struggle with filing & paperwork? For those of you wondering about my system, do you have any specific questions?

3 Comments to “Filing, Filing, Filing”
  1. KM on February 26, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    Thanks for sharing! This is really helpful, my spouse has a home business as well and we’ve struggled with filing, I might try a method like this.
    Thanks again for your wonderful blog!

    Reply to KM's comment

  2. KT on February 26, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    Thank you so much! I really need to do this. Instead of “files” I have “piles”. Time to get organized.

    Reply to KT's comment

  3. Nebraska Dave on February 27, 2018 at 11:08 am

    Susy, my life is much simpler then yours. I don’t have business taxes and only have one old car. Tax records are charitable contributions, house interest, one dependent (me). That’s it. So that goes into one small manila envelope. The rest like forever important papers go in another larger manila envelope. The rest all go in one file drawer. Every two years or so I pack them up in an old shoe box and store them away for seven years. In all my time of keeping records, I’ve never had to go back and try to find some thing. It’s not worth the effort to be so organized for me. But as I have said, I don’t have businesses to deal with nor do I have complicated taxes to keep track of. Life is pretty simple for me and I like it that way.

    Have a great organized filing day.

    Nebraska Dave

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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