I spent hours sorting paperwork this weekend. I will more than likely spend hours shredding a good deal of it. This was paperwork that I had brought to Alabama from Missouri. Some of it was mine, some was from my mother’s estate, and some of it was trash or just past the date it needed to be kept.
There are different kinds of paperwork:
- Daily – aka “the mail” — this stuff I handle as soon as I get it home from the post office. Open the packages, throw away the wrappers. Open the bills and place them by date due in the designated kitchen drawer. Letters that require more than a few minutes to read go upstairs on the bed where I will read them when I retire for the evening. Anything with personal or revealing information gets shredded.
- Receipts and Owner’s Manuals – when I buy an item that comes with an owner’s manual (usually a large item purchase), I staple the receipt to the cover of the owner’s manual and file it away. When I had a filing cabinet, it just went in a file folder labeled, not so creatively, “owner’s manuals.” When I purchased this house, bless the previous owner!! There in the kitchen was a manila envelope with manuals to the hot water heaters, kitchen stove, range hood, ceiling fans, fireplace insert, etc. I have elected not to move the filing cabinet and now have a filing box in the printer cabinet with these items placed there.
- Grocery & Miscellaneous Receipts – After unloading bags and putting items away, I stop to check both Ibotta and Fetch Rewards. I scan my receipt and if there’s nothing I might possibly return, I toss it. Both apps can be downloaded via Google Play Store and pay rewards in either dollars or points. Ibotta offers cash back for commonly purchased goods that add up and can either be redeemed as gift cards or as actual cash to a Paypal or Venmo account. Fetch Rewards scans your photographed receipt automatically and awards points for purchases, those points can then be exchanged for rewards.
- Important Papers – this would be such things as income taxes*, county tax receipts, mortgage paperwork, shot records, school records, etc. These go into a file labeled with the appropriate year or corresponding child’s name. * While I use TurboTax to do my own taxes, I always print out a hard copy to have on hand. Into this file goes my W-2 forms, mortgage statements, donation receipts, etc. Keep in mind that all tax returns should be retained for a period going back 7 years.
- VERY IMPORTANT PAPERS – this would be birth certificates, marriage licenses, social security documents, insurance policies, wills, living trusts and things of that nature. These are so important I won’t keep them in the house. They go into a safe deposit box at the local bank. My executor (or co-trustee in my case) has a copy of my living will as well as knowing the location of the key to the safe deposit box.
Not a very creative or exciting post here, but important nonetheless. Paperwork can become overwhelming if not handled appropriately or properly. This is yet another sneak peek into the OCD logical mind of how I operate and try to keep clutter down in the home.