I’m not coming to you today with anything groundbreaking. And to be honest, it’s not glamorous or pretty or Pinterest/Instagram-worthy. However, going through this process has simplified my oodles of paperwork, moved documents out of the five different locations around my house (okay, probably way more places than just five) and put a full system in place that we just never had and we can actually keep!
I will start this off with the fact that there are so many products and apps that are incredible if you would like to take photos of your papers and file them away electronically. So many useful ways to go completely paper-free. One of the best apps that I’ve seen is called Adobe Scan. It’s a free app that is SO user-friendly and allows you to take pictures of your important documents and file away in e-folders to keep them nice and organized on your phone. It also can take multiple .jpeg images and merge them together to make one .pdf document. Extremely handy when it comes to those important documents!
I love the idea of a clutter-free filing system that frees up so much space in your office or storage areas, but I’m such a visual person that having everything electronic and not directly in front of me gives me all the anxious feelings. I like to have papers in a good ‘ol fashioned filing cabinet that I can go through and track down what I need at the flick of my thumb. If you think that’s something for the traditional folks and you like a more streamlined e-filing system, check Adobe Scan out because it looks incredibly user-friendly and the reviews are amazing!
But again, that’s not for this girl. This girl went to a local Salvation Army, cleaned up an old filing cabinet that I bought for $8 and spray painted it with charcoal chalk paint to make it look brand new.
There are beautiful filing cabinets online that look like a gorgeous piece of furniture. If you have an office in your home and are looking for something that blends seamlessly with your office decor, check out some of my favorite options below. Click on the picture to be taken directly to the site.
In our home, we have 5 bedrooms. Four of those rooms are used as our family bedrooms and the remaining is a guest room that isn’t large enough to do a joint office and bedroom for when family is in town. The way the closet is situated in the space, there just isn’t any room for a desk in that space.
So when looking for a place to fit my cabinet and a few tubs of photos and sentimental pieces, I was looking to use only my guest room closet for this project. Essentially, I wanted to turn my guest room closet into a “cloffice.” A major downsize needed to happen to make this work.
So I took to online to figure out exactly how long you are to keep documents, what I could purge, and put a color coded system in place to make it all work.
Just how long are you to keep your papers?
My philosophy became all about how difficult or time-consuming it would be to obtain or replace the document. If the process takes substantial time or effort, then hanging on to that document is a wiser choice.
Many statements these days can be retrieved online for at least several months back, so you don’t need to keep things like utility bills (to prove residency, for instance) if it’s easier to download them when you need them.
After sorting through all my files, my tubs, my safe, my car, Jerod’s work bag, the garage shelves, the EVERYWHERE, I was able to see what I had, shred the unnecessary, and pare down my paperwork to a workable amount.
I purchased 5 different color file folders from Amazon to help organize my files even further: grey folders for documents for Jerod and I, teal folders for Jackson’s, aqua folders for Colton’s, pink folders for Mya’s, and a purple for our owner’s manuals.
The color-coding drastically helps when you are in a pinch and need to nab something quickly. I don’t have to go through tab after tab to find Jackson’s immunization records. I can easily see his section and look through five tabs instead of 50.
As I worked through paperwork and all the places in our house that we tend to “store” items, I was able to also track down photos I thought were long-gone, sentimental pieces from our wedding and from my childhood home, and sort those pieces to be able to come back to them another time. I took 2 large tubs and placed all of mine and Jerod’s sentimental pieces in one and all of our loose photos in the other.
As for the kids, I had small office boxes from Ikea that I began storing their specials pieces in, as well. Things like the certificate from their first KC Royals game, their baptismal candles, birthday cards, etc.
This simplified my space, created a system, and now I actually know where things are, where they go, and can find things when I’m looking for them. #gamechanger
Today’s all about motivating you to take on this project for yourselves. It’s not glamourous, but it’s important. It seems daunting, but it’s so worth it. Downsizing the overwhelming amount of paper can drastically change multiple spaces in your home, save you from hours of digging, free you from the stress of losing vital pieces, and put a system in place that will be workable for your whole family to use.
Soon, I’ll share just how I’m saving school work from my kids. But that project’s for another day!
Have a great Monday, everyone!