Record Keeping

Minimalist Mama Record Keeping

Posted on Posted in Parenting

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Record Keeping

If you’ve been following along here then you know minimalism is something I have come to embrace (Did you jump on board the Capsule Uniform Wardrobe for Earth Mamas?) and life feels so free and light. Every object in your home has an energy that you (and your children) react to. Each thing in your possession adds a weight to your shoulders. So let’s get free from another area that tends to sneakily drain our energy: record keeping.

Invitation

The first step is going to be to clear an entire weekend to pull out every single piece of paper you own, hold it in your hand, and decide in which pile it belongs. You will have 4 piles: (1) recycle (2) shred (3) scan and recycle (4) scan and keep

For example: (1) a flyer for an event that has passed (2) an old phone bill (3) a receipt for a business expense (4) your child’s birth certificate

How do you know if something should be scanned or kept? My criteria was this:

If this burned in a fire would I (a) sentimentally cry over its loss  (b) need to replace it for practical reasons (c) be in trouble for legal reasons?

For example: (a) photos (b) social security card (c) tax documents

Keepsake Box

Each family member has 1 keepsake box, which is a large plastic bin to store objects (and papers) with sentimental value. Drawings are a good example here. If you have piles and piles of children’s drawings, scan them, and choose one from each developmental season to keep in the keepsake box (make it collaborative and let them choose their favorites).

Scanning

I’m not gonna lie, this is going to take time and not be fun. But once it’s done, it’s DONE (because the system moving forward won’t allow for accumulation) and it will feel so amazing. Scan everything in piles 3 and 4.

Digital Record Keeping

Keeping digital files decluttered and organized is just as important as keeping physical files organized! Under Documents, have several main folders (that are all backed up). I have 1 for each family member plus things like cars, dogs, house, and taxes. Under each person, I have folders like education and medical. While pages are scanning, go through your digital files and declutter and organize. Delete anything that does meet that criteria above! Then sort in all of your newly scanned documents.

Files

For the few documents remaining in pile 4, put them in an organized system. I am setting up our home office area in our rec room and had a perfect little wall space next to my desk for these hanging files along with some jewel toned file folders.

My files are as follows: West, Bay, Sky, Rachel (social security card, birth certificate, passport, marriage license, MFT hours, diplomas, etc.), Joshua, Autumn (puppy), Odyssey, Prius (cars), Taxes (by year for the last 3 years), House, Biz, Homeschool, and To Do (ongoing projects that require paperwork, right now that is the kids’ passport applications).

Inbox

I have an inbox that is simple and small and any papers that come into our home go here for me to process. Sometimes that might look like paying a bill and then shredding the paper. Sometimes that might look like scanning the document and then recycling it. Other times that might look like scanning and filing. Every paper goes here and every paper gets processed.

Paperless Systems

The key to easy maintenance is to modernize all of your systems to be paperless as much as possible. All of my bills are ebills that I receive via email and pay via online banking. All of my business forms are digitally submitted and stored. My kids’ curricula are digital and accessed through their iPads. Even my purchase receipts are all emailed nowadays. Any paper that enters your home, ask “Is there a paperless alternative for this?”

So clear a couple days, grab every paper you own, and start piling, scanning, shredding, and organizing. You got this! If I can do this as a mompreneur of 3 homeschooled kids, you can too!

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