Raise your hand if you hate clutter! If you’ve spent any time exploring this little blog of mine, you are probably fully aware that both of my hands are stretched up in the air when asked that question.
No matter how “put together” we aspire to be, sometimes stuff just piles up out of nowhere. I’ve come to find that paper bills and mail are two of the most frequent piles formed on the corner of my desk. To help you work through your small heaps of paper and simplify your files, I offer you my tips for labeling and storing your documents.
Select Your File Folders:
I am a firm believer that a decorative workspace is a happy workspace. Think about it – if you are surrounded by aesthetically-pleasing desk accessories, you are likely going to be in better spirits than if you were sitting at a boring workspace all day. I personally get a kick out of pulling my chair up to my computer and glancing at my sparkly gold pineapple statue. It’s the little things, people.
Now, you are more welcome than my little gold pineapple to use basic, plain-jane file folders – for those who do not know, pineapples are a universal sign of welcome. However, I like to have fun with my boring bills and pop them in fun, decorative folders.
Target has been slaying the game with their chic desk collections. They not only offer a generous selection of pretty file folders, but a boat-load of other dainty desk accessories as well. I’ve also had luck finding adorable folders at Hobby Lobby. Just do your best to stay focused on what you came for, or else you’ll roll up to the check out with a cart full of things you just had to have but probably don’t really need.
Store Your Folders:
Now that we’ve picked out our file folders – whether they be basic or chic – we need something to store them in to prevent them from resembling the pile we are working to eliminate. I picked up this handy gold-wired file holder at Target. You could also use a filing cabinet, plastic bin or even an empty cardboard box. As long as your files fit in it neatly, it’ll do the job.
One of the easiest ways to begin organizing your documents is by labeling your file folders. It’s great if you separate your bills into file folders, but if you don’t know which bill is in which file – it doesn’t do you much good.
To make this process even easier for you, I’ve put together a PDF download of some printable labels to get you started on your way to organizational harmony. Simply download the file, print ’em out & adhere to your folders. I designed the labels to print out on Avery 5160 label sheets. I managed to find some gold outlined label sheets at Hobby Lobby that matched the size of the Avery 5160 labels. You can also print them out on 8.5×11 label sheets and cut to adhere.
You’ll find labels accounting for both of the below systems. I did my best to include labels for common monthly expenses. If there is a segment of labels that you would like that I didn’t include, let me know and I’d be happy to create some more.
Download the labels here.
Decide How to Label:
System #1: Monthly Labels
I’ve come up with a rule of thumb for deciding how to label my file folders. If you are filing bills that are not recurring or change frequently from month to month, I recommend using monthly labels for your folders. For example, if you are aiming to organize miscellaneous receipts that you accumulate each month – groceries, date nights, coffee runs, etc. – a monthly folder will allow you to quickly glance at your recent spending.
System #2: Bill-Specific Labels
If your goal is to simply keep track of routine bills or store confirmations of auto-pay expenses – phone bills, car payments, student loan payments, etc. – I suggest labeling folders based on what they contain. For example, if you label one of your file folders “phone bills”, you’ll be able to easily locate a previous month’s bill if you need to reference something.
Try Both Ways:
If you don’t know which system will work best for you, try a combination of both ways. Maybe you want to keep track of monthly spending on miscellaneous expenses, but also want to neatly store your recurring bills. Using a combination of the two methods can enable you to do both.
I’ve also included some labels for other important documents that you likely have stored – tax documents, birth certificates, take-out menus (totally considered important), etc.
With a few simple tools, you can have that pile of documents organized in no time. What’s your go-to method for neatly storing bills and important docs? Share in the comments!