What is a good filing system for documents at home?
One Saturday morning, I was in a hurry and needed a document for verification, to my frustration could not find it.
I was looking everywhere, on the desk, in the drawer and between papers in a box, but could not find the paper I was looking for.
The person was waiting and it was a very embarrassing moment. I promised myself to find a way to keep my paperwork better organised.
A room full of papers scattered all over, my dear, is not wise. Find a filing system that works for you and know where my documents are?
It is very hard to replace if an important document gets lost. It is also a motivation killer and soon lead to procrastination
The best way is to find a filing system that suits your style, my dear. There are many ways to go about this. The alphabetical way or the numeric, or you can combine the two and make it alphanumeric. Alphabetical filed but numerically sub divided.
You can even do it item by item as it happens, by date. The greatest secret is in the labeling, and have the cross reference in place. As long as it is clearly marked and you know exactly where everything is filed, it is in order.
A proper filing system gives a certain feeling of confidence. Without it life feels chaotic and there is always something at the back of your mind bugging you.
A home filing system should be easy, practical and simplified to give peace of mind and a feeling of being in charge.
Find your System
Find a system that works for you and your lifestyle will take some trial and error until you get a system that works for you . There is no fixed method, my dear, as long as you understand it.
The most important factor in finding your documents are labeling. It must make sense. Never over complicate or want it to be too fancy.
It is wise to scan all your paper documents and keep them in a safe file on your computer. Don’t only depend on your cuber friend, it is so easy to lose it all with the click of a button or a system breakdown during a power out.
You need the paper files to keep all the original documents safe.
Keeping your paperwork up to date, can be just as annoying as cleaning a house, but it has to be done, my dear. Make it feel like an achievement and give yourself a reward after it is done.
I will tell you what helps me to find my documents, and maybe you can relate and apply it too. Keep your records simple and just do it.
First things first
What will you need for your manual filing system
A box or a few smaller boxes to separate your papers in, mark the boxes.
A stapler and staples, a little device to unpick the staples
Cutting scissors, sellotape and a paper punch.
Markers, pens and pencils, eraser, adhesive labels.
Files with alphabetical separator sheets inside, folders and a two hole punch.
When To Do It
Save this job for the weekend, my dear.
Use the self-adhesive labels and mark your files and folders.
Sit down and start selecting, sort the papers by subject in different boxes and get rid of all the junk mail.
Once that is done take a box and select the documents, the oldest at the bottom by date .
Staple or use sellotape to stick the smaller receipts and papers to a normal sheet, A3, making it easier to file.
Tidy the lot even, punch holes and place in the folder and clearly marked file.
When you are done with all the filing, make an index sheet in the front of each file. Stipulating what is in the file and where to find it, alphabetically or numeric.
After you have done the basic sorting and filing, it will be easy to maintain. Never let a week go by without reading everything.
When opening your post have two boxes or spikes for papers at hand. Separate the documents from the rest.
Attend to the important papers as soon as possible and file immediately. You can go through the rest of your post at leisure when you have time.
Very little will change in these files, once it is filed in place your work here is done
Let’s see how many files will be needed and how many folders inside the file.
The best way is to do the manual filing first and then copy it to your digital files on your computer.
In the personal file you keep all your official documents in separate folders inside the file:
Birth certificates, baptized certificates, other religious certificates
Marriage certificates, Marriage contract, Divorce papers
Educational certificates, school, college, University etc.
Life policies, endowment policies
Anything to do with you personally.
2. Validation Certificates
All the items of value should get valued and those certificates filed.
Pieces of jewelry, rings, watches, bracelets, earrings, pearls, diamond or golden pendants.
Photographic equipment Cameras, lenses, tripods and secure bags.
Computer, laptop, hard drives, other electronic equipment.
Sound system and TV.
Wall Paintings, original paintings and limited edition prints.
Anything valuable, it can be a special historic book.
3. Banking Documentation
Bank address and contact numbers.
List your bank account numbers and names Cheque account, Savings, Credit card, etc.
Credit card info, original document you signed when you opened the account.
ATM card papers and pin numbers.
Internet login info, user ID and password, make use of a cryptic way to secure the numbers. You can use phone numbers and names to hide the codes.
Any Investments, name the institution with all the details.
4. Insurance policies.
Short term insurance Name the institution, contact details of the person and dates of renewal. House insurance with all details of what is insured and what not. Is it insured for fire, theft, breakage etc for instance geysers, computers, TV, electronics .
Cars, motorbikes and caravans are normally insured. There are sometimes safety requirements from the company who insured your goods. Age of drivers and lockup garages, safety systems with sirens for vehicles etc. Make sure to apply to all requirements, otherwise they will not compensate you if something happens.
Read all the fine print, best to read it properly and make notes of what and how everything is insured and what not is not included. Make sure there will be no surprises when something bad happens.
Pets. It is good if you can afford it to have pet insurance to cover the costly veterinarian accounts when your pet gets sick or has an accident.
List the policy number and all the details.
File the insurance certificates.
Keep the number and address of the nearest veterinarian on file.
5. Medical Insurance
Name the institution and address with all contact details for different departments.
Membership number and what scheme you have joined.
Medical records, X-rays, DVD of scans, prescriptions, etc.
It is wise to keep a record of all sicknesses and operations. You will get asked this info by a doctor.
Monthly payment of membership.
6. Tax man
Tax registration forms and contact numbers. All returns and correspondence, keep record of your tax number.
Internet login info, user ID and password and your email address listed with them.
7. Registration Papers
Cars, motorbikes, caravans original registration documents.
License receipts and road worthy docs.
When you want to sell a car or bike you will need these original registration papers. Costly to replace if you lose it.
Once you have done these files very little changes and stays as it is.
Passports, Visas and health immunity certificates.
Record of all travels and trips, local and international.
Make a note of the expiry date and renew before expiring.
9. Higher Purchases.
All items purchased on credit, contracts and documents for household goods should be kept safe.
List the due dates of completion of payments.
Keep the contract and all the receipts of payments in date order of all those on higher-purchase. Keep it updated every month, very important.
If there is a query from the company, and it does happen, you will be prepared with all your evidence. Twice we had the experience that a company questioned the payments, and luckily we had the proof to show.
Create a new folder on your desktop to keep all in. You can create as many sub files as you need.
Open the same files you have opened in your manual and paper files which will be standing on your shelf, give them the same topic names.
Use your paper file documents to scan and transfer the information, one by one into your digital files.
This is not necessary for non-documents, this is the paperwork of things you want to keep track of.
Keep the names and labels of both systems the same, making cross-reference easy to find what you are looking for. All these documents are very hard to replace, and if you lose them, it will cost you dearly.
Now that is it for your filing system, my dear. I know it seems a lot, but see how close you can get.
Find your system, secure all your valuable documents, and keep track of expenditures.
Love you lots.