All those PAPERS!! I'm drowning!!! - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 17 Old 12-13-2010, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
crunchy_mommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 6,501
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

We have sooo many papers... every drawer in the desk is full, there's a pile on top, boxes from when we moved in several years ago labelled "OLD MAIL".... 

 

I can't let go of the idea that I need all my old cc statements, medical bills, bank statements (well I do need those, they have copies of checks which are proof of charitable contributions etc.)... electric/oil bills, random papers beyond my comprehension regarding my 401K, just sooooo many papers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I've gotten good about getting rid of junk mail & not keeping things like thank you cards but I just can't seem to get a handle on what seems to me to be "important" paperwork. And I can't scan them into the computer because not only do we not own a scanner but I'd be paranoid the computer would break down & the storage media would no longer be in use (i.e. when all my writing was stored on floppy disks which are no longer in use....)

 

I don't even want to bother going through it all because I know I'm going to need to keep everything & I don't have a file box big enough to store it all!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Help???


Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
crunchy_mommy is offline  
#2 of 17 Old 12-13-2010, 06:06 PM
 
mkksmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,564
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

OK paid bills I'm told you can shred, so I'd start there. You have your checks, so you have proof that you paid. I still have been keeping mine, but I may shred them. I hate paper. :)


Mom to: Honey (6/04) and Bunny (9/09)
mkksmom is offline  
#3 of 17 Old 12-13-2010, 08:15 PM
 
newbymom05's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,634
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Here's what I would do. I'd go to Staples or wherever and buy as many banker boxes as you need the big heavy cardboard lidded boxes). Then I'd just grab and dump everything in there, label it "200?-2010" and put it in the garage/attic/back of the closet. In the unlikely event you need something, there it is. In 8 yrs I'd shred the entire thing w/o even looking at it.

 

Going forward, here's what I'd do. I use a paper accordian file. I have it sectioned for each major bill (credit card, elec, etc). After I do our taxes (I also have an "income tax" section where all that crap goes) I write the year on the outside and put it in the closet. After 3 yrs it goes in the garage, after 7 it gets tossed/shredded. The accordian file fits in my file drawer, easy peasy. Things like car or medical records that I plan on keeping indefinitely I keep in a labeled file folder in the filing cabinet. Hubs has a 401 that gets bimonthly statements (argh!!!!) and I put them all in a folder--I'm about to start a new one and I'll put the old one in the garage even though realistically, we'll never need them.

 

That's just a suggestion. It sounds like you're feeling overwhelmed by all the paper. I'd just toss it all w/o looking in boxes and move forward.

newbymom05 is offline  
#4 of 17 Old 12-13-2010, 10:19 PM
Banned
 
accountclosed3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 11,906
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

first, going forward, get bills, statements and what not sent to you online. it works great. we hardly get any paper at all anymore.

 

second, as the above posters, anything over 8 years old can go. any bills that you've paid currently can go. we also do the accordion file thing for the year, and once we file our taxes, that goes into big envelope, and that envelope goes into a file that keeps our tax records. when we hit the 8th year, it gets shredded, and we keep the rest. for medical records, etc, we simply keep a file for each of us. there actually isn't that much in the files, all things considered, so it's pretty easy. 

 

our current files hold: 1. last year's taxes as well as this year's (which we are compiling, of course) and the rest are stored in the US in case we need them; 2. our medical records; 3. our immigration records; 4. our business records for tax purposes (in two countries no less!). 

 

most of the paper that we have piling up is because of DH's writing habit. :D we love to recycle paper, and so we have a lot of "scrap." we actually go through it each week, and he files it. i'm creating a "filing" system out of cool, grass-woven baskets that they make here that cost about $2 and can hold about 3 magazines worth of weight/paper. hanging them on three hooks on the wall, he can have papers in his process, and his beloved piles, without having piles. :) because it's the piles that make me bonkers. :D

 

good luck! it took me about 2 years to tame the paper monster in our house. :)

accountclosed3 is offline  
#5 of 17 Old 12-14-2010, 05:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
crunchy_mommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 6,501
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post

first, going forward, get bills, statements and what not sent to you online. it works great. we hardly get any paper at all anymore.

But what if I need the statements??? Am I being crazy? I already pay all my bills online but I get the paper statements sent to me anyway because I feel like I need them.

 

 

I like the idea of just throwing everything in a box to shred in 8 years.... that's much less  overwhelming...


Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
crunchy_mommy is offline  
#6 of 17 Old 12-14-2010, 06:41 AM
 
VisionaryMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,851
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Most of our bills that are online will allow you to download PDFs of the actual statement for up to a 12-month period, so should you need an old statement, you can get it. Also, most places will mail you one for a few dollars if you're ever desperate for one.


It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
VisionaryMom is offline  
#7 of 17 Old 12-14-2010, 10:47 AM
 
newbymom05's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,634
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I think it depends on why you think you need them. I get paper copies of all my cc's, but I look at them each month and highlight charitable donations and medical expenses, then I file them in the accordian folder. I've also gone back to find statements like for magazine renewals or checking on prices I paid in the past for annual expenses, so I like getting the hard copies. OTOH, if you never look at the statements, why keep them? Get them online like others have said.

newbymom05 is offline  
#8 of 17 Old 12-14-2010, 10:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
crunchy_mommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 6,501
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Well part of my mental obstacle with this is that we only have internet because my company is paying for it right now... If I quit my job (which I plan to in a few months) we will likely be without internet again & I'm afraid I'll miss bills or something. I do look at old cc statements occasionally, for budgeting purposes or to prove I paid a bill or figure out when a purchase was made... I don't know why I think I need the other bills (electric, cell phone, DH's pay stubs, etc.) but for some reason I can't get over this hump & toss them. I don't know if this is a hoarding impulse or more rational, it's a fine line for me when it comes to things like finances. Papers are what I struggle most with decluttering, closely followed by art supplies, fabric scraps, bits of ribbon, etc.... because I actually USE them though, so the paper thing is weird I guess because I don't use them. Ugh. 


Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
crunchy_mommy is offline  
#9 of 17 Old 12-14-2010, 11:02 AM
 
pearl2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 736
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Right now I have an entire laundry basket full of nothing but the piles of papers that accumulated around the house. I made it one day in "company is coming" cleaning frenzy about 6 months ago for LO's first birthday. I also have another huge pile that sits NEXT TO the shredder in my bedroom of old papers I cleaned out of the file cabinet a few months ago. About every 4-5 days I stay on top of the mail that comes streaming in by opening it and immediately putting things in the recycle bin or the to-be-paid file. I'm saving up all these shows on DVR specifically to sit my butt down in front of the TV and watch mindless shows while shredding all the important docs we no longer need. 

 

I'm doing this right after Christmas (priorities are handmade gifts I said I was going to do that I can't back out of now!) and have everything sparkling for tax season, as we need our return ASAP to pay the midwife. Robbing Peter to pay Paul! That's the spirit. 

 

eta instead of shredding, I'd love to just make a big pile and burn everything. SO cathartic! But alas; that is not an option. 


Mama to 2 little darling squooshy faces
pearl2 is offline  
#10 of 17 Old 12-14-2010, 05:56 PM
 
elsie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: MD
Posts: 984
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I am very much like you - even down to the fabric scraps and art supplies. It's been a struggle for years but I have a much better system.

 

First, even if you don't get the internet at home, it will all still exist outside of your home. You could always goto the library or a friend's house and look something up if it really comes to that. You really don't need those old credit card statements. Remember, if there was a problem with a payment, you would have noticed on the next statement.

 

Second, I keep an accordian floder for each year and put all the important stuff from the year in it. I consider us to be a rather paper heavy household and once I get down to what is really important, it still all fits.

 

Third, make sure you don't even let the junkmail get involved in your house. It oftens tries to look important and sneak its way into your keep pile, but be diligent. 

 

I do keep all medical, dental and insurance stuff. That seems to be the only category that ever has issues down the road.

elsie is offline  
#11 of 17 Old 12-14-2010, 06:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
crunchy_mommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 6,501
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by elsie View Post

 

First, even if you don't get the internet at home, it will all still exist outside of your home.



This made me LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Good perspective, thanks :)


Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
crunchy_mommy is offline  
#12 of 17 Old 12-14-2010, 06:22 PM
 
MaryElizabeth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Fort Bragg
Posts: 539
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by newbymom05 View Post

 

That's just a suggestion. It sounds like you're feeling overwhelmed by all the paper. I'd just toss it all w/o looking in boxes and move forward.



Heck yeah. You don't need 99% of that paper you mentioned. I know the anxiety of "what if I need it????!!!" But in reality the companies that you are involved in keeps records on all of your accounts and put together your bank account, you should have all the info you need regarding payments and such. Make one box for all the tax papers you need and one small basket for the mail that needs to be dealt with in the next week. Every week go through it and throw out everything that isn't absolutely necessary.

I go through the mail on the walk in from the mailbox and get rid of junk mail right then!! All but random bills are done electronically and are auto drafted, so as long as I peek at my bank account once a week, I'm good!

Once you get rid of it... it feels amazing!!! And you want to move onto other parts of the house and get rid of the excess!!!!


Army Wife & SAHM hang.gif  to energy.gifDD 06/09 & belly.gif DS 06/11    cd.gifnovaxnocirc.gif
MaryElizabeth is offline  
#13 of 17 Old 12-14-2010, 11:37 PM
Banned
 
accountclosed3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 11,906
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

have you ever used your statements, and if so, how? i've never needed them. And, if ever i do need a particular statement, then i can do something quite easily: it is in an electronic file, so i can download it and print it off. 

 

i do all of my banking online, and square my account with my accounting software once a week. i was audited some years ago (i did my taxes fine, my dad decided to "check" my work -- i was 29 at the time -- and screwed it up and e-filed it when he was "done." so, i got audited. real PITA. but, i didn't need much. just brought in the receipts for the business and the accounting month-to-month and they squared it away. no big deal at all. paid the difference (from the refund that i got), and it was quickly done. really, totally painless, but i told my dad to stop f'ing with my stuff. have had an accountant do most of it since, and will have this year, but next year, i'm moving to an accounting system to do it on my own again. 

 

i just back it up electronically now. 

accountclosed3 is offline  
#14 of 17 Old 12-15-2010, 04:50 PM
 
newbymom05's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,634
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I just remembed a thread that I think I read on here where several people just kept an ongoing pile of everything every year, accessed it as needed, put in a box at the end of the year and started over. I guess they used a large file box? I see attractive ones all the time--you could get one w/ a lid, that'd be great. So then all your elec statements etc would just go in the box, letters you feel like you should open/read (but don't really want to)--all in the pile. I remember thinking that it sounded very liberating! I would pull out tax stuff, though, like a PP mentioned--I would HATE to have to sift through 12 months of paper to find tax related stuff.

newbymom05 is offline  
#15 of 17 Old 12-16-2010, 11:02 AM
 
pearl2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 736
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

There are some absolutely beautiful boxes right now (and nearly always) at places like Marshall's/Ross/TJ Maxx/Tuesday Morning/Kirklands for under $10/$15.

 

We were also saving files "in case," but we bought a house in 2008 and just now refinanced it, and we didn't need hardly what we thought we'd need as proof of income, etc. That's when we really started shredding things, er, piling them up by the shredder shy.gif


Mama to 2 little darling squooshy faces
pearl2 is offline  
#16 of 17 Old 12-25-2010, 08:33 PM
 
youngspiritmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Home :)
Posts: 497
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

 

I can't let go of the idea that I need all my old cc statements, medical bills, bank statements (well I do need those, they have copies of checks which are proof of charitable contributions etc.)... electric/oil bills, random papers beyond my comprehension regarding my 401K, just sooooo many papers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Check the book "Smart Women Finish Rich" by David Bach out of the library. It's worth the read (but long) if you are interested in money/finance. If not, then just go to I think the third or fourth chapter about getting your papers organized. It is so inspiring. He writes about how so many women have old mail etc. just like you are describing in shopping bags in closets etc. His writing is really inspiring and he even gives you ideas for what to keep, what to not, and what to name your files. It's worth a shot --- I hope this helps.

 

One thing about financial/tax stuff is that the IRS only can inspect you back 7 years, so in the financial world generally you would keep 7 years back (if that --- I don't keep credit card statements that long at all) but any longer than that --- shred shred shred.

 

Do a little every day too --- slow and steady wins the race!
 

 

 


Mothering my sweet preschool boy luxlove.gif and my new arrival bfinfant.gif

youngspiritmom is offline  
#17 of 17 Old 12-25-2010, 08:34 PM
 
youngspiritmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Home :)
Posts: 497
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by newbymom05 View Post

Here's what I would do. I'd go to Staples or wherever and buy as many banker boxes as you need the big heavy cardboard lidded boxes). Then I'd just grab and dump everything in there, label it "200?-2010" and put it in the garage/attic/back of the closet. In the unlikely event you need something, there it is. In 8 yrs I'd shred the entire thing w/o even looking at it.

 



By the way, I love this advice!!!


Mothering my sweet preschool boy luxlove.gif and my new arrival bfinfant.gif

youngspiritmom is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off