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Feb 1, 2011

{How-To: Organize + File Bills}

At the first of every new year, I get the urge to clean and organize everything around me so we can start the year with a fresh, clean slate!

The first thing I decided to take on this year was organizing and re-filing the bills and important papers.
I don't know about your house, but at my house, we get lots of mail.  Most of it is junk, but lots of it is important things that we actually may need to keep for 6 months to a year or even forever!  Typically, we look through the mail, take out what we need right that second and toss the rest into a stack somewhere.

Over the last few months, it was tossed into a large bowl on the counter and stuffed into multiple magazine files... anywhere it would fit, basically, to get it out of the way!

Well, those places began to bulge.... it was time to get serious.

These are my tips to organizing and filing, for those who need a helpful hand in knowing where to start:

First:  I gathered all of the mail that had been tucked and hidden away and I stuffed gently placed it all into one big basket

Second:  I made 3 separate sorting bins/boxes.

One marked TRASH
One marked SHRED
One marked FILE

Third: Start sorting the items in the basket, one by one and place them in their designated bin.

At this point, you only have to determine if each item is a keeper, a filer or a trasher.
I trash all of the envelopes and just keep the actual paperwork/bills.
I did this sorting step over 2 nights, while watching Season 1 of "Arrested Development" on Netflix (highly recommended).

This step can take as much time as needed!

Fourth: It's time to find something to place your files in! 

I went thrifting and found this perfect 2-drawer file cabinet for $5 dollars! 
I brought it home, cleaned it up with Clorox wipes and it was good to go! 
(Eventually, I'll make it cuter to look at -- for now, it will do!)

Fifth: Get some hanging files and start labeling

I like to take the first file, label it, place a second empty file behind it, then move on to labeling the next (third) file with something else.  That way, when the first file gets filled, you can start filling up the second one right behind it.  Saves time in searching for another empty folder when you need one!

Also, if you are as anal and OCD as I am, make sure you hang your colored files in the correct rainbow order.  Trust me -- whether you realize it or not, the organized colors will make this process a lot more fun.  Tee hee!  :)

I don't have a picture of my files labeled, obviously, per personal reasons.

You can make your labels specific (like "Rocky Mtn Power" and "Questar Gas") or keep them generic like these:

Sixth: Start sorting the papers from the bin marked "FILE" and place them into their lovely, new hanging files.

Then you are finished!

Doesn't it feel great to have that completed? 
Yes, yes it feels fantastic!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Now, since I don't want to have to take the mail to the filing cabinet each day, (because we all know that would never happen) I still need an organized place to keep things until they can be filed away:

As little Miss Blythe is graciously demonstrating here, I am using 6 individual magazine files to hold 2-months worth of "To Be Filed" items.

When these start to get filled, I can take each one over to the cabinet and sort the items into their permanent home!


What tips do you find helpful when organizing and cleaning? 
We want to know!


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Sarah Harkins said...

Whenever I pay bills (two or three times a month) I put away the papers that have been making a pile on my desk. That way I don't loose any bills beneath the other papers :)

Michelle From Life Buy The Beach said...

Wow! great find on the file cabinet.

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