Have you ever found yourself looking all over your house for your birth certificate that you know you have, you just don’t know where it is? And of course it’s not in the same spot as your marriage license that you also need to get some sort of documentation renewed. Not to mention needing to find your lifetime warranty on the couch that just had grape juice spilled on it.
Well, if this is you, consider it your lucky day. That used to be me until I simplified my life and put every important document in one easy to find place. I pride myself on being an organized person, but I found myself repeatedly getting frustrated when I couldn’t find things in my “filing system”. Then, it hit me, what if there’s a fire (God forbid) and I lose all of my important papers because they were in 18 different spots?
Then it clicked. A binder. It was that simple.
In my opinion, the plainer the better. I don’t want anything on the cover that would be inviting to thieves in case of a break in.
I bought a 2 inch ringed binder, a package of sheet protectors (love those) and some dividers and I got to work. (There are plenty of these out on the market like this one shown below, but they are overpriced – $30 - and not as personalized as if you do it yourself)
A DIY version could save you tons of money rather than buying a premade binder.
In my life binder I have it divided into 5 sections. It always stays in the same place and can be grabbed quickly in case of an emergency (fire, sinkhole, evacuation):
- birth certificate
- marriage license
- divorce decree/annulment papers
- Social Security Card
- Savings bonds
- house title/deed
- professional certificates
- Monthly bills for the last 6 months
- retirement statements
- bank statement information
- credit card information
- pay stubs
- budget planning
- Homeowners/Health Insurance Policies
- Car purchasing information/maintenance records
- Personal Warranty documentation (phones, eyeglasses, couches, appliances, etc.)
- memberships (AAA, Costco, fitness center)
- any and all tax information from the previous year
- property tax information
- All of the extra stuff that you don’t think you’ll need, but you just might.
Now, I know this does not take a rocket scientist to figure out, but I felt like one after putting it in order. It was such a relief to know that if it wasn’t in “the binder” then I didn’t have it!
This is also great if you have kids. Start one for each of your children now and it will be easy to pass on to them when they head out on their own.
Good luck and happy (life) organizing!