For years I was like most other households when it came to my files..they all went in a filing cabinet and papers were put in folders. I tried to make it organized, tried not to lose papers or crumple them to death but it was pointless. It still took me way longer than I had time for to find what I needed. It was clear I needed a new system. I thought I'd try something a little unconventional..a binder for each person, one for the house, one for manuals and one for debts that were paid off. Yes I know that last one sounds silly but it comes in handy if you ever need to get something off your credit report.
It's a very easy system. Each person in the house gets a binder. In it is a section for basics,medical/dental/school/awards
Basics: This is for things like your resume, copy of your marriage/birth certificate/list of your addresses and references for the last few years.
Medical/dental: In here goes all your medical and dental papers from appointments. Also any print outs of x-rays or anything else related you might have. If you have kids this is also where all the papers you used to get them into school (the dr. appointments and such go)
School: In here is all your high school/ college transcripts or important papers from your kids school like grade completion paper.
Awards: You guessed it! Here's where you put all the awards and certifications your receive.
Now whenever you're looking for a file that has to do with your husband or just one of the four kids, you know right where to find it and you aren't sorting through everyone else's papers.
House binder: This one is full of all those manuals your get with just about everything. I have a divider in there for electronics and the rest is just household stuff but you can be more detailed if you want.
Paid off binder: All this holds is all the paperwork and paid off notices for all the things you've paid off. In case you ever find something on your credit report that you know is paid off, you now have proof!
*Again I use the cheap dollar version of page protectors for all the binders, Avery pocket dividers as needed and binders on sale or on hand.*
Now I don't have a big cabinet full of folders stuffed with papers that rub together and fade or get destroyed. I have 5 binders (6 if you count my red one) that sit neatly labeled on a shelf. Any member of my household can did anything they need in mere minutes and often read it without taking it from the protective sleeve and then it goes back on the shelf.