I’m trying to cut down on the amount of paper I’m hoarding, but for the important documents I have to have around I use an accordion folder to organize them. My dad has always used one to keep his financial information all in one place for tax time, so I got the idea from him.
However, my folder was getting bloated and as a result the rubber band holding it closed stretched out and it was barely holding together. I took this as a cue to clean it out.
The first few sections are about school: general information, financial aid, and residence life. As this is my last year in university housing, I got rid of all of the handbooks and brochures, saving only my housing contract and roommate agreement; this eliminated the need for an extra folder for these documents. I tossed all of the brochures and campus maps I got at visits and orientation, saving only my acceptance letter. I kept all financial aid documents except for the instructional literature, which I can access on the school’s website if I need them.
Next is general financial information. I had five sections: general account information, income, receipts, credit, and insurance. The first four ended up being merged. Over my winter break I took out all income information from 2012 and left it home with my dad for tax purposes. I threw out most of the receipts except for items like my printer, which have a warranty, and placed those in an envelope to keep them together without the need for a separate section. I only have two credit accounts, so those ended up being paper clipped together. I kept the separate section for insurance since I have quite a few documents in it.
Next was my health information, in a folder labeled “Rx”. I had kept every educational document about each of my prescriptions even if I already had the same information. I threw out all but the most recent documentation, and got rid of the information on prescriptions I no longer take. This saved a significant amount of space.
After “Rx” is a section with product manuals, which didn’t require any work as all I have in there is two manuals for my printer and my graphics tablet.
Next I have volunteer information on various organizations in my city. I tossed all the flyers for organizations I don’t plan on volunteering for, and threw out any extra brochures that just replicated information that I could find on the internet. Since I had been hoarding a lot of brochures from volunteer fairs, this saved a ton of space.
In the front slot, before the first section, I place all the miscellaneous items that can’t be placed in a section; for example, it includes my voter registration card and a couple of extra envelopes if I need them for small papers in the future.
For the future I’m looking into more paperless solutions, such as scanning documents and storing them digitally.