5-Days of Home Office Organization – All the Colors of the Rainbow
Your household filing system will encompass just about everything that accumulates in your home and office. Adjust these categories (or color choices) to suit your family and lifestyle. If you haven’t already, Mother Earth and I highly recommend switching to online bill pay and paperless statements. However, if you do not utilize these options, you can still keep track of paper documents.
- Bills & Banking (Green)
Set up bills and banking into green hanging files folders and then create the following sub-sections.
- All bills (account folders)
- Monthly folders for paid bills (January-December)
- One folder for each credit card company
- One folder for each loan (auto, mortgage, school, etc.)
- PAID OFF (any letters from loans & purchases that are paid off)
- One folder for each bank or savings account
- Taxes & Income (Orange)
Please consult with your CPA, or visit the IRS.gov website to learn how long to keep tax-related documents. Divide taxes and income documents into the following orange hanging file folders.
- Retirement accounts (401k, Roth IRAs, other investments)
- Annual tax paperwork (one for every year)
- All work-related folders (one for every job)
- All current-year tax-related documents (one folder for each: entertainment expenses, donations, office supplies, mileage/travel expenses, etc.)
- Medical, Dental and Pets (Red)
Organize all health and veterinary documents into red file folders as follows:
- One medical/dental file folder for each family member (and pet)
- Benefit summaries or EOBs
- Doctor bills (paid)
- House & Auto (Yellow)
Keep track of home and auto documents using yellow file folders for the following categories:
- One folder for each automobile
- House-related warranties
- Homeowners’ association docs (HOAs)
- Homeowners’ insurance policy
- Auto insurance policy
- House documents (any paperwork pertaining to the house you currently live in)
- Contractors (one folder for each: painters, landscapers, pool, and any other projects)
- Memberships, Schools, Vacation & Other (Blue)
Designate one blue hanging file folder for each of the following categories:
- AAA, Sam’s Club, Costco, hotel rewards and other memberships
- Clubs or memberships (YMCA, Zoo, Gym, Aquarium)
- Schools and Universities
- Cities you frequently travel to (maps, tourist pamphlets, guidebooks, etc.)
- Any additional categories your family needs
Now you know how to create a color coded filing system. The key is to keep it up! I know from experience that it’s easy to start slipping with time so I hand picked a few good filing cabinets and paper storing folders for you from the Container Store.
They will help you to keep your papers color coded and organized in the long run.
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My son learned a similar system in high school. I was going through a long, drawn out, and bitter divorce at the time, so I added an additional color category. I used 🟣 PURPLE FOR LEGAL 🟣. I like the color purple, so in a way it was soothing to me, even as I had to keep up with annoying attorneys fees, court dates in another state, cancelled court dates, travel arrangements for each court date, child support payments, contact info for my estranged husband (who was living and working in another country), child custody issues, visitation issues, etc. My divorce took ten years to become final, so for awhile I was using quite a few purple folders! I credit this file color coding system for helping to keep me sane!
this is *just* what I needed. Thank you so much.