What does your current bookkeeping and household management system look like? Do you have one? If you don’t, do not worry you are not alone. Keeping up with all the bills, papers, schedules, and such of a household can seem like a full-time job in itself, at least if you are anything like me.
How I figured it out
I spent the better part of 13 years with stacks of papers I had every intention of filing away in file folders. Year after year I would take those papers and throw them in banker boxes, slap a year on them, and stack them away in storage. That grandiose filing system never happened. I found myself rifling through box after box trying to recall what year I would have received that paper. I want peace and order in my day-to-day life but I need it to be simple and quick, or it just won’t happen. The solution I found rocked my world (in a good way!)
My #1 System to Save Your Sanity
One day it just hit me, I realized I was often not home when I had time available to work on our budget, pay bills, research car insurance, and so on. I also found myself constantly shoving more papers and things that needed to be taken care of “later” in my purse. So it hit me, what if my bookkeeping and overall household management were portable? Would that help? It was a resounding YES!! See… a system to save your sanity! So I assembled an accounting and household management system in a bag. It was simple, easy and a game changer for keeping up with everything.
So here’s what you need to set yours up:
- Tote bag: For me, this bag is quite substantial. It has pockets on the outside as well as the inside around the edges (all the way around), but most importantly for me, it is open in the middle, no divided sections. I have found that an open bag allows me the flexibility to alter what other organizational pieces I use in the bag. To this day I still rework how I have my bag organized, so it is as simple, effective, and light as possible!
- Ipad or another tablet: I keep important information such as usernames and passwords on my tablet. Having my iPad with me ensures that I can access any of our accounts with ease, making the ability to pay bills no matter where I’m at super simple. Sidenote: Most of my time away is spent where I have access to a computer, so my bag system reflects that. If I am actually going to need to be mobile, I will drop my laptop in the bag as well.
- Large laptop sleeve: The bigger, the better. I use it to put:
File Folders: (I use the following file names: “Find A Home,” “Talk To Chris,” “To Scan,” “Incoming Bills,” “Current Budget Bills,” “Future Budget Bills,” “Paid Bills,” and “Notes”)
Planner: I tend to think I can remember things and write them down later, (which I can’t) so this gives me no excuse to not write it down right then and in turn actually make sure it is not forgotten.
Spiral notebook: You just want a good place to take notes or jot something down. This could be any size, but some form of blank paper is always good to have on hand.
- Budget Binder: (1/2” is good to start out, with the file folders it cuts down on space needed here. I have an entire budgeting process that I believe in wholeheartedly. Watch for that post soon!
- Household Binder: This size is very dependent upon your household. This could be as simple as a folder with brads. My household binder is purely a place I collect pertinent information for my family. Things such as kids school schedules, district calendar, cleaning schedule. Typically they are dropped inside of a page protector, nothing preplanned or fancy. If I’m thinking family or household information, it’s going here.
- External Hard Drive: Organizational game changer, period. This addition to my process was so significant I am going to write about it in a separate post.
- School supply bag or box: Keeps all your small things in here. (pencils, pens, highlighters, sticky notes, paper clips, small stapler, whatever you need or want to keep handy)
- Cords and cables: I try to make sure I have the ability to plug in anything that might die on me while I am out and working, such as phone, tablet, laptop.
The key to this system to save your sanity is to make sure you are keeping only what you need in the bag. NOTHING else. You want to cycle papers out of the file folders. File them away at home or on a digital format as soon as possible. This system has allowed me to grab a bag and go. I know that I can be away from my house and still handle whatever comes up. I have everything I would need with me! It has simplified my life more than you would think a bag and some office supplies could.
Condense It Down & Make It Portable
This system of organization could be used so many different ways. Depending on your daily demand and challenges you can make this system your own!
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