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What are the drawbacks to this filing system?

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I am trying to cram my bill paying and filing center into a smallish laundry room where I have a small, built in desk, some cupboards, and an open bookcase. It's not a big laundry room, though I guess that sounds like a lot to have.


I am an organizational mess. I'm just going to say that right off the bat. I did just finish a "command center" type wall outside of the laundry room that has a pin board, calendar, and places for kids to put their own important paperwork (permission slips, lunch schedules, etc). Several of you offered great advice on that, and several offered good organizational advice as well. Thanks Ellie and company.


Right now, I have a computer armoire in the living room that has all the mail in it, and some big plastic file cases. I find it really hard to use, because the files become quite heavy, they are on the top shelf (the only space they fit) and are sort of a pain to take out when you are just filing or looking for one thing. Ideally I know I would just have a file cabinet, but the places I could put one are not really convenient, and I think when you are an organizational mess, one thing you have to do is to make it a little easier to do what you are supposed to do in the first place.


Anyway, I was thinking of using separate desk top file cases for major filing categories, and keeping them on the shelf. So I would have files for "cars" "insurance," "Checking account," "monthly bills" etc.


Just problem solve what would be bad about a system like this? I am thinking I could keep about a years worth of files for each category on the shelves, and then at least the files would be right at my finger tips. Obviously it would make things very easy for someone who wanted to come in my home and steal important documents. On the other hand, it would make life easy for me and for family members who want to put their hands on stuff.


Then I could put a proper file cabinet in a closet upstairs where things could go that are older than a year old but that should be kept. Taxes ... banking records ... etc.


Good idea? Bad idea?



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Dane, we all have methods that make a lot of sense to us.


Couple of things, have you considered software like Quicken for backup? You can always scan and shred if you are nervous about possible loss.


The other thing is, there are really good methods of storing in a three drawer file cabinet. The top file is for current items and categories only- divide it into two sections...expense and income. Second drawer down is for archives, third drawer down is for taxes, warranties, permanent files needed..


I learned that method years ago and used the categories from Microsoft Money. I cannot tell you how many times that saved my tail.

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I think it sounds good. When the filing isn't convenient is when I end up with piles of papers waiting to be filed!


What I esp. like:

it will keep things from going to the file cabinet to 'die'...I find that some things that aren't needed forever end up staying in the big file cabinet/taking up space


this system sets you up well for keeping the big file under control...for example moving something from the small box to the cabinet and being able to get rid of the old one right away

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When I was young, I kept papers and liked to be organized. (Now, I am old and toss everything LOL)


Instead of expecting myself to sort all my bills at one time, I kept files by the month and then a couple times a year, sorted those into individual manilla envelopes. All my bills for January went in a file, February, March etc. It was quick and easy to put them away as they came in and if I wanted something, I knew exactly where it was. Periodically, I would take each month and sort them into 'car, phone, cc, etc' and put them in to manilla envelopes. For some reason, putting them into envelopes made more sense to my brain, to switch them into archive status.

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