Friday, February 26, 2010

A New System

I have a four drawer filing cabinet bursting at its pressed wood seams. I am notorious for amassing vast amounts of paperwork, bills, statments, flyers, coupons, free magazines, handouts from conferences, notes from events and letting them pile up until company comes and then I whisk it all into a large box or bag and I promise myself I will sort it later and then 6-8 months go by and I hope to heaven there weren't any important things in there... I once found a savings bond, my birth certificate and a passport in one such pile.

Well, this weekend I am embarking on a clean-out-the-cabinet mission. I have my handy-dandy shredder and a new system. The plan is to organize bills and statements, not by company but by chronology. This may bite me in the ass later but it will sure help me store things more reasonably now, and it will certainly help me know when it's safe to purge some records.

Is there a reason I need full service records and every old registration card for two cars I no longer own? One of which NO ONE owns since it's gone to the that great car-yard in the sky. Surely I need to keep my employee handbooks and all pay stubs for part-time jobs that ended as recently as 2002 and 2005? And I'm sure electric bill records dating 2001 are essential considering they are three addresses back. Why do I keep this junk, faithfully filing it every 6-8 months or so? Hmmm...

I realize 7 years back is a good rule for some things (but what things?) and only if I itemize on my taxes, right? Which I don't, so is it okay to keep two years back on everything and call it good? I hope so, cause that is my new folder system. I am excited by the thrill of the shredder. The happy organized plan staring back at me. Now, to start sifting and avoid tossing anything valuable.

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