Paper Trail

February 3, 2008

Stack of Paper, thanks to isausa.com

What the heck? Why is there so much paper in my house? Bank statements, credit card statements, insurance information, medical bills, phone bills, electric bills. Holy shamoly!

While I’ve switched to paperless billing and statement-ing wherever I can, I’m still suffering from paper overload. I just spent an hour and a half sorting through a vanity drawer stuffed with the abovementioned paper items. Most of these things were what I deemed to be keepables. Realistically, though: do I need to keep a bank statement from July 2004? A little help for the Living Smaller, if you please.

Update, 2/4: Two things.

1) I tried to return my pristine paystub envelopes — which I receive despite my long-ago sign-on for direct deposit, which I naively assumed would render paper checks unnecessary — but the finance department at my place of employ denied them. And, to add insult to injury, they said the company from whence my paychecks come will not accept the envelopes, either. So it looks like I’ll have to send my infrequent bits of outgoing mail in windowed Paychex, Inc., envelopes. Friends, await my epistles.

2) A coworker mentioned this calendar, which doubles as a file folder, thus eliminating the need for an overstuffed vanity drawer, for example:

File-it Calendar

Now, I already have my standard issue Elvis calendar, but maybe I can finagle some kind of EP Filing System. Perhaps I’ll use those porthole paycheck envelopes.

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6 Responses to “Paper Trail”

  1. Been going through the same thing. Thats part of what inspired my company. Anything for taxes you might want to keep for 5 years. That’s my understanding of how far back an IRS audit can go. If your medical bills are going to make up more than 7.5% of your “Adjusted Gross Income” (the IRS term), you should organize them and submit them with your taxes.

  2. Sarah said

    Okay, so I know this seems really creepy, but the weird OCD Southern part of my brain immediately thought this: “If you ironed everything it would lay totally flat and you could store more in less space.”

    You know me too well to question this too deeply!

    I say buy a cross-cutting shredder (you can get the kind that fit over the top of your regular trash bin) and cut that shizzle up. Clear your drawer and safely pack anything that needs to be shipped.

  3. "The Choir" said

    I recently went through my two-door filing cabinet and weeded out ten years’ of bills and papers–I kept this year’s stuff in there, in the same folders, but everything else I just put face down, as I went through them, onto a pile or two–I separated different file folders’ information with a 3″ x 3″ post-it–and then when I was done had two 12″ high stacks of papers–these I then put in an office-box with lid and store now in my attic. Ten years’ papers fitting in one box I thought was good. And usually 7 years is the time that you are supposed to save anything, or maybe are expected to have saved. I also keep all the month’s receipts in an envelope and label it with the month and year–EXCEPT “major” purchases, which go into the “Major Purchases” folder for easy retrieval for warranty reasons (expensive furniture (bed frame), HDTV, DVD players, electronics, etc).

  4. […] of Chris Uhlik, a man who’s committed to creating a paperless home. In an earlier post, I bemoaned the superabundance of paper in my own abode. The Dwell Daily asks its readers how they manage to […]

  5. […] for only $30. That’s nearly 50% off the cover price! The notice had been languishing in my newly organized keepable-files drawer, waiting for me to pop my 30 smackers in the mail in return for monthly […]

  6. […] more about my quest for paperlessness here.* Posted by livingsmall Filed in EcoLogic ·Tags: apple, apple store, computer, email, […]

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