Create A Home Filing System

A simple filing system for your mail and important household paperwork.

You know the scenario. All your mail and important papers are piled in a heap on the kitchen table along with junk mail and fast food flyers. It's time for dinner so you move them to the pile on the coffee table. Or maybe you're a bit more organized and you keep all your miscellaneous papers in a pretty wicker basket. But you still feel like you've been hit by a whirlwind when it comes time to pay bills or look for that note from your kid's teacher.

Developing an easy-to-use and simple home filing system is the answer. It doesn't have to be fancy. You don't need a custom-made filing cabinet or special folder. Just a milk crate and some manila file folders will do the job. Your first step is to assemble all your paperwork in one area. Next, you'll create a file for each of the following categories. After you've placed the appropriate papers in each file, you can see what's left and create any additional categories you might need.

Home Maintenance

This is the file for all the information you have about home & gardening tools and services. Keep receipts, warranties, manuals, and service records here. If the file is overstuffed, you may want to divide the file into subcategories like: gardening, landscaping, house exterior, house interior, pest control, etc.

Appliances & Warranties

This file is for receipts, manuals, and warranties for all your household appliances and gadgets. Once again if this file gets too bulky, you might consider subcategories such as stereo & entertainment electronics, beauty gadgets, kitchen appliances, clocks & radios, etc.

Current bills

This is the file where you will place all your bills as they come in. Once a week or every two weeks you should go through this file to see which bills needs immediate attention. This is also the place to keep a list of all your bills and their due dates.

Paid bills

Once you've paid your bills, you'll move them into this file. If you don't have very many bills, you may want to let them accumulate here until the end of the year and then throw them away or create a file for the previous year. Be sure to shred any paperwork with financial or identification information. If you will be using these bills for tax deductions you may want to create subcategories like: auto, insurance, credit cards, entertainment, home services, cleaning services, repairs, tuition, medical, etc.


This is where you'll want to keep any receipts or statements that you'll need for tax season. Once again, depending on how complicated your return will be you may need to create subcategories.


This is a tax-related file where you can store receipts for everyday expenses. Keeping all your receipts may also be a tool for creating a budget - as you can see where your money is currently going. It's also a good idea to hang onto receipts until your checkbook is balanced. Having your receipts will help you find an error must more quickly.


It's a good idea to keep a folder with a current budget planner and as a resource for updating your monthly budget.


Use this file to store all your insurance information. You may want to create separate folders for medical, dental, vision insurance if you have all three.


This folder is for any auto-related paperwork including tile & registration, auto insurance, service records, etc.

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