Files vs. Piles

Over the past few days I’ve put off writing this post. I want this blog to include posts that are practical and helpful. But writing a post on filing? It’s not on my list of exciting subjects to tackle. If you decide to skip this, I totally understand. If you stay with me though, I think you’ll find it helpful.

When I was single my version of filing was tossing the unpaid bills in a folder in my kitchen. Once they were paid they were tossed into an even larger folder. At the end of the year I bundled the huge stack of paper into a file and … began the process all over again. Of course, I had to dig and dig to find anything once it was in the Big, Crazy Stack of Papers.

Even after getting married and attempting to become a little more organized,  the files in our home were a mess. My husband and I both worked full-time. A huge part of my job was organizing hundreds of court cases…filing, filing and more filing. So the last thing I wanted  to do when I returned home was file.

Finally, after we moved and were settling in, I decided the time had come – no more excuses. If there is anything that drives me absolutely batty it is piles of stuff. Piles of clothes, piles of paper, Piles, piles, piles. If you’re like me and you hate piles but the paper keeps stacking up in random places throughout your house, here is your very simple list of what you need to create an easy system:

  • File folders (including the hanging folders)
  • Filing cabinet or filing boxes
  • Labels
  • Pen

Ok, so if you feel completely buried by the paper and the stacks overwhelm you, leave them (for now). Gather the stacks into one box or bag and you can sift through them another time. Focus on what will be coming in to your house over the next few weeks.

On my desk I have a file for items to which I need quick access. This includes bills for the current month (separate folders for pending and paid). Next, a folder for my husband’s current school information, a place for our house plans (since we are renovating), a folder for Jackson’s school documents and a place for our current medical bills (I find it helpful to keep the medical bills separated from the general bills).


In the actual filing cabinet I keep files for current copies of our insurance policies, bills from previous months, taxes from last year and owners manuals, etc.

When the mail arrives I immediately go through it and place items in their folders. No missing bills, no important documents we’ve misplaced. No piles and piles of mail that someone needs to sort.

When it comes to organizing the paper in your home, don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good. You don’t need a Pinterest-perfect system (obviously, from the picture, mine is not). Do what works for you. I love creating simple systems we can use to help life flow more smoothly. Happy filing!

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