Saturday, 31 March 2012

Home challenge - weeks 12 and 13 - tax documents and filing

I've been sick so got behind, so have decided to do weeks 12 and 13 in one post.  They are highly related so it makes sense.  Week 12 is about creating a personal tax organiser system and receipts and week 13 is to organise files in your home. The filing I have been sorting out for a few weeks. It is a job that takes a very long time, but at the end of the day you don't have much to show for it! My current filing system leaves a little to be desired. Generally I would spend about a day going through the files, purging and reorganising. Every time I say to myself I'm NEVER going to let it get to that stage again - but what do you know, of course I do.  Here is the look of my filing cabinet a few weeks ago.

All the filing is stored in a green basked - just waiting for someone (who am I kidding - me) to file it away! I think a lot of my procrastination at filing was the set up of my filing cabinet. Sure I had files for the main areas, e.g banking, bills, car, work related, superannuation, insurance and so on. In the bottom shelf I had files from A-Z. This was confusing, as sometimes I would file something under a different letter (e.g. our holiday club would sometimes go under L - for Laguna Holiday Club, or A for Allamanda Vacation club or H for holiday club). I could never find things when I needed them, and it found it hard to file.

During this challenge I've had a huge purge - gone through all the files on top and rearranged my filing cabinet. I've separated out the big ticket files - now has a folder for each car, insurance now has a folder for each policy, superannuation has a folder for Nigel and a folder for myself, banking has a folder for each account and so on.  The bills I've decided can be in a annual folder.  I've kept all bills from 2011 and they are in one folder - then there is a new folder for 2012 (I didn't feel the need to sort them into months as per the challenge).

I've now got a separate folder for tax documents and receipts. For some reason I didn't think of doing this and always struggled at tax time. Luckily for me in Australia we don't do our taxes until after the financial year June 30 - so I've still got a little time to sort it out - but I think it will be easier this year- and definitely easier next year as I use the new folder for the whole year.

I've made a separate folder for each of us in the family to put personal things related to us - it's a bit of a miscellaneous for each individual.

I got rid of the A-Z system, and instead put things under major headings- I haven't found a piece of paper that doesn't have a grouping yet - but have decided if I find something I don't know how to file then either a) I don't really need it, or b) I will make a miscellaneous file!

I've made a folder for all receipts (day to day things - I have a separate folder for big ticket items to store with their warranties). I've labelled plastic sleeves with the dates of the receipts which go from 23-22nd of each month - as that's when my credit card statement goes from, e.g. 23rd March until 22nd April.  I've asked hubby to put every receipt into the correct sleeve so I can check against credit card statement each month.

I'm feeling happier about the setup - and hope to either file each piece of paper as it comes, or at least weekly during my bill paying time. I should never see a pile of files like the first picture again.

This is what it looks like now (and A LOT cleaner inside too).

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