Busy Girl: Household Filing System

Am I the biggest dork ever for thinking that creating an Easy Household Filing System is actually fun?! On second thought, maybe don’t answer that.

I’m kind of obsessed with brand new school supplies, love starting a fresh notebook, get a rush when I buy a clean calendar and oddly enjoy all the opportunities in January to start FRESH. One of those opportunities is when I sit down to set up our household’s Filing System. #nerdalert

busy girl filing systemThis is my 4th year creating one of these boxes to hold any and all important documents from the year. Bills, receipts, notices, warranties, important emails, tax info, insurance paperwork — you name it, these important docs are filed to be saved in an organized and super low maintenance way for at least a few years. Busy Girls, we know you have 5 billion other things to be doing, so creating a long and involved filing system with all of these intricate parts just ain’t gonna happen.

Trust us, we get it. And heck, if you don’t have time to create it, we sure as heck know you will definitely not stick to it all year. So let’s dive into an EASY and quick household filing system that you can maintain throughout the year without wasting that precious time of yours.

file folder and wash tapeSupplies:

  • Box (I have bought all of mine at Target the last 4 years because the boxes there have lids to hide the papers, but their colors are limited. If you find a better place, please let me know!)
  • File Folders (I use about  10 to 12, but hey, your filing system may look a tad different)
  • Marker

Total Cost: About $20 and well worth all of the frustration you’re saving yourself by never losing an important receipt again!
Time: About 10 minuteslabeled foldersSo you have your supplies. Now, all you have to do is identify what categories you want to create for your household filing system. This is what Matt and I use:

Credit Card Statements
Car (this would include insurance docs, maintenance info, oil changes, repair receipts, etc.)
Gas, Electric, Cable & Utilities
Tax Information
Medical (Pretty self-explanatory)
Teaching (we keep docs from work in here, specifically items that we need to maintain or update our teaching certificates)
Home Repairs 
Random yet Important (I’ve learned over the years that having a “catch-all” folder for important docs that don’t seem to fit in any other folder is important to stay organized)
DIY Playbook 
M&P Presentations (Matt co-owns a public speaking company where he & his partner present to high school students across the country about positive self-image, being confident in who you are, embracing the awkwardness of high school & using social media appropriately) #funfact

Other ideas for folders: Gym Membership, Student Loans, Grad School Info, Important Contact Info/Business Cards, 401k, Investments, Pet Care, a folder for each child, Large Purchase Receipts, etc ….)foldersAgain, these are the categories that seem to work for us, but feel free to adjust these to fit your needs. If I could give any advice starting off it would be to have extra folders in the back of the box in case you missed a category. Having the materials ready for you to add to your folders down the line will help you stay committed and organized using your household filing system.

randomI would also suggest having that “Random yet Important Folder” as part of your collection. There always seems to be something odd that comes up throughout the year that needs to be filed and just doesn’t seem to fit the outlined folders. Having this catch-all folder will ensure you won’t just throw this random paper anywhere and never be able to find it again. #FAIL #beentheredonethat

organizing foldersFor some of the important folders, I like to use extra washi tape to put on the front of the folder. I write important passwords, notes, locations, phone numbers or anything I don’t want to forget about that specific folder on the washi tape. And if at some point throughout the year that info changes, I remove that piece of washi tape and add a new one with the updated info. This helps keep everything in one place & ensures I always know where to find this info. But if you don’t have washi tape– no worries! Just add those notes inside of the folder. Maybe in pencil or on a post-it?

file boxdiy playbook fileOnce you write out all of your folders/washi tape, simply place them in the box and put the cover on it so all that clutter is not exposed.

file box Target Now as you receive these important docs, you have a very specific/consolidated place to put them. And when you have to go back in your files to rescue a specific document, you’ll know exactly where it is. Simply take the specific folder out and rifle through it until you find what you’re looking for.

Like I said, I keep my boxes for a few years…. just in case I need something from one of them. But once I pass the mark where I can empty the old ones out, I will re-use the box and start all over with my rotation. Easy enough right?busy girl filing systemBusy Girls, if you have 10 minutes and $20 to spare, this is the January project you can’t afford to miss. Unless you have another cheap & easy way to stay organized. I would LOVE to hear about it….bridget


  • Alysia @ Slim Sanity

    This is something we definitely need to do. I have one bin, but it’s about to explode and I don’t think it’s organized as well as it could be!

    • Once I started this system, I totally stayed organized (as long as I commit to making a new one each year). And the best part is that the Mr. can help with the organization too with this easy system! #myfavoritepart

  • Jessica Alayne

    Wonderful! I have 2 boxes but never thought to use them as annual catch-alls!

  • Alexa~FurnishMyWay

    Oh my goodness. Where has this DIY been all my life? I’ve started my annual new year spring cleaning (which really means getting rid of junk while minimizing my stuff & maximizing my space, haha) and I’m definitely going to do this FOR SURE. I have a feeling that this will become one of my new organizational lifesavers. Thanks for sharing!

    • Alexa, so happy to hear that this might work for you! Filing papers is tough and can easily become a mess, so hopefully this helps! Good luck!

  • Lindsay @ Lindsay Weighs In

    I decided to do this earlier this year (but yours looks way prettier!) Except I tried to stuff all my school papers in there too as well from all my grad school classes. Like, I’m talking all my notes and handouts, etc. #hoarder, which leaves very little room for anything else. I need to rethink this system and maybe have two books so I can actually MOVE the file folders. Thanks for the tips! Love these Busy Girl DIYs. #favorite

  • Cathy Cortes

    Love this! I need to do this ASAP! My files always grow into a huge pile then I don’t want to do anything with them, lol

    • Ha! Totally agree. Hoping this system changes things for the better in 2015!

  • Thanks Sara! I found these folders at Target– but I have had good luck with cute folders at HomeGoods and Office Supply stores too.

    And THANK YOU! We are so happy you’re here!! xo