two tall stacks of paperwork and files

Paperwork Challenge Day 9

You made it! I’m so grateful for your time and energy during this paperwork challenge. As promised, I’m wrapping this challenge up with a list of five file folder categories that’ll make organizing your paperwork in 2021 and beyond so much easier.

  1. Every time you get a notice or a relevant receipt, pop it in a file folder call Taxes 2021. When it comes time to do your taxes in 2022, all the documents are right there. Create a new folder for every year.
  2. If you keep receipts to maybe return things or in case they break, it’s much easier to keep a single folder of receipts called Receipts 2021 and go through it if need be than to create separate folders for each coffee maker, garlic press and sharp knife set and then wonder whether you filed the receipt you need in warranties, manuals or kitchen appliances.
  3. Make one file for each kid – instead of separating out thin paperwork into different folders, give each kid one folder. If you’re saving paperwork for a substantial issue to do with that kid, label it Jason – IEP and keep it with the file called Jason where you keep his school reports and karate certificates.
  4. Do the same for each pet. A folder named Baxter is going to be easier to go through than wondering whether you put that piece of paper in medical records, dog tags or vet visits.
  5. Create a file folder for each person’s medical records and name it medical records – mom, medical records – Jason, etc. If you’re looking for a copy of your mammogram report or your son’s eyeglass prescription, you’ll think medical before you think person, so label it first with the category and then the person. Keep it simple – one folder per person unless there’s a substantial medical issue, in which case it gets its own folder, medical – mom – brain surgery which you’d tuck behind medical records – mom.

Bonus strategy!

Instead of searching for the car title in one place and your birth certificate in another, create a folder called Vital Records and store it somewhere easy to grab if you have to leave the house quickly. Mine contains birth certificates, car titles, passports and a small album of copies of my absolute favorite photos.

If you enjoyed this series of paperwork challenges and would like to have a cool pdf overview, send me your email and I’ll give it to you.

Thank you for taking the Paperwork Challenge – here’s to your paperwork success!

P.S. Did you miss a day? Here are all the previous Paperwork Challenge posts:


  1. I’ve been teaching language for the past 3 decades and managed to accumulate thousands of sheets inspite of some decluttering on and off. Used your tips to sort, throw and label the sheets. Lots of work to do, but you helped me start.

    You’re the best, Lucy!


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