One day, around about the time I turned 18, when I started to amass papers and do tax returns, I decided that now I was an adult I required a filing cabinet. It was ugly brown, so in my wisdom I covered it with blue contact. I was so clever! That filing cabinet moved house with me 3 times, funnily enough only 2 drawers held useful files. One was full of office supplies I didn’t need, the other full of memorabilia I’d collected over the years.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago. Our renovations were complete and this great hulking piece of office furniture was not going to fit anywhere. I needed to downsize, but the cost of a 2 drawer filing cabinet was staggering! Enter the trusty Aldi catalogue, and a $50 2-drawer filing cabinet. I rushed down, terrified they’d be sold out. They were not. It was flat packed. Now, I’ve done my fair share of flat pack furniture construction, but this one was particularly frustrating. After laughing at me for a little bit, hubby gave me a hand, and we had this gorgeous little cabinet together before bed time. But where to put it? Small as it was, it would not fit in my new study space.
After a good long think I realised that I use my filing cabinet mostly when I am on the phone, and so I squeezed it into a space between wall and sideboard in the dining room, where the phone is. My next clever step was to disguise it, so I made a fitted calico cover for it. At first hubby didn’t even notice it was there, then he didn’t like it, but within a week he got used to it, and so it stays 😀
To downsize I did a few things. First, I went through the drawers and decided what we needed to keep and what could go. I let go of an amazingly large number of newsletter and all sorts of junk, half filling the recycling bin! Next I split things out into what I needed at my fingertips, and what could be archived. Some Aldi archive boxes (3 pack for $3 … bargain!) did the trick, and I was able to streamline this significantly. Most used files in the top drawer, least used files in the bottom drawer … perfect!
Why have a filing cabinet at all? It was a darn side easier to find all the papers we needed to consolidate half a dozen superannuation accounts. When an electricity company rep comes to the door with a genuinely good offer, I can put my hands on my most recent bills in seconds flat. If we sell our car, all the service and insurance records are in one spot. And dealing with Centrelink is much easier if you have all the letters lined up in order before they even answer the phone. If someone disputes that you’ve paid a bill, you can quickly find it, complete with reference number. I could go on … but you get the drift. Having a neat filing system means that it is easier to file a bill the minute it is paid, or put that letter of offer in your employment file. Handle it once and you’ll never lose an important piece of paper again! Do you have a great filing system? Do you want some homework for getting your files in order? Tell me all about your love or hate of filing in the comments below, or over at the Cake & Enemy Facebook page.