I’m taking part in a series called Life Well Lived, where I answer questions like I’m an expert. I’m not an expert but it appeals to my life long quest to be Dear Abby so please indulge me.
This week’s question is: How do you organize paperwork both online and off?
Paperwork is the bane of my existence. Do you know how much paperwork a 25 week micro-preemie generates? I’m pretty sure that I need to plant an entire forest to make up for the amount of paperwork that is stored in my house. This place is a tinderbox.
On top of that, I make a living as a blogger which means that I have receipts, invoices and all those other little things you have to keep record of so that you aren’t scrambling come tax time. It’s a lot of stuff, y’all.
I use this family planning binder on a daily basis. I stash all the paperwork that comes through the house in the appropriate folder when I receive it. And once or twice a week I go through and deal with it all. I pay the bills, mail birthday cards, submit insurance claims, file receipts, submit insurance claims, file invoices, match up coupons, submit insurance claims and did I mention I submit insurance claims?
Insurance: praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. Seriously, I’m so thankful to have good insurance (see: million dollar baby, Scarlette) but they send us a LOT of paperwork. And by a lot, I mean if I could probably make a life-size replica of the Eiffel Tower from it.
I also have a filing cabinet divided into a million subfolders, which doubles as bedside table because our office doubles as a guest room. 3/4 of it is devoted to Scarlette. There is also a whole section devoted to all of the sheet music Jeff prints out, which does not subtract from my paperwork dilemma but guys who play guitar are pretty hot so I let that slide. One folder is labeled College Transcripts which means I might have a hoarding problem. Everything eventually moves out of the binder and into the filing cabinet or the little numbered mail holder pictured above so that I know when to mail stuff.
For my blogging business, I do everything online and then import it all into Excel spreadsheets. I break everything down by category for my expenses and various sources of income and make it all nice and tidy. I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to this sort of thing and I highly recommend this ebook for learning the basics of organizing your online business documents and getting things set up correctly for taxes.
Then I take it to my mother in law, who is an accountant and she magically turns it into a finished set of tax documents. It is a beautiful thing. I recommend marrying someone who’s mother is an accountant. Also, someone who’s sister in law makes amazing cupcakes like mine. Obviously, I married very well.