My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Need Help! Paperwork Crisis!

My house used to be a constant mess. Ok, it still is a constant mess, but it’s a tidiable (is that a word?) mess with an organised undercurrent. Having kids was probably the making of me in that department. I got so bogged and frustrated and upset that I went looking for help. I found FLYlady and did a lot of journaling and soul-searching about the role of a stay-at-home Mum (not all cupcakes and day-time television). I began to go to bed with a cleared kitchen, make my bed straight after getting up, clean something in the bathroom while waiting for the shower to warm, empty the dishwasher whilst the jug was boiling for my cup-of-tea and use a calendar….just those little things that some people know instinctively how to do to stay on top of life and some people (me!) need to learn.

In the spirit of full disclosure - here are my fugly bits.  Piles of paper everywhere!  And  there are other piles hiding in other spots around the house!
But I haven’t ever really got on top of my paperwork. Yuck. I hate it. But crunch time has come. Why? Because, for the life of me, I can’t find the kids birth certificates and I need them. That’s not good. I could order new ones (at $25 a pop) but that’s not really solving the problem, is it?

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that being organised with paperwork can save you time, help you be frugal, and keep on top of life in general.

I’m thinking of making goals – they seem to work for me. Do I dare ration my quilting time? For example: no quilting until I've done 15 minutes filing? Argh! It would probably work, but I think I have deeper issues, which are hijacking my attempts to stay on-top of paperwork. I don’t think I have a proper filing system sorted. Bits go here and bits go there and I have a big pile of ‘miscellaneous’! I don’t know how to sort stuff and how to store it.

So, tell me, how do you do it? What categories do you file stuff under? What techniques have worked for you (or not!)? Please! Anything you think will help me out. We’ve upgraded our computer after eeking out our current one for eight + years and I’ve decided I’m not allowed to open the box until my desk is clear!


  1. When you've worked out a workable system, let me know Charlotte LOL!

    Seriously though...I hear what you are saying. I'm my own worst enemy when it come to loosing things and it is simply that I DON'T have a very good system in place to start with. And with ALL the paper we have/hold/need to store these days, it's no wonder! Heck, I still have boxes of the kids home-schooling from when they were at primary level still needing sorting! Not to mention account statements etc etc etc.

    I think the idea of doing a little often is way better than a lot occasionally but it's getting INTO that rhythm that's the challenge, aye?? I have those foolscap(sp?) boxes that I file paper work into and I divide them into sections, like A/P's, Household bills/statements, misc things like receipts for returns/warranties, etc etc.
    I "try" or that's the theory, to file them once a month. Then there's sorting out the crafts/art supplies/purchases/receipts etc I can find stuff EASILY when I need it! I'm sure once you get going it becomes like riding a bicycle. *grin*
    Oh...Bribery with crafts as a reward always works for me too. All the best!

  2. We have one large green concertina file for all certificates/ really must not lose stuff. The accounts accumulate in cardboard file boxes and the rest goes into a drawer. Appointment cards etc live stacked (in order) against the computer in the hope I'll remember to check them.

    So as you can see, nothing is ever to be found when you want it and hubby's desk is always an avalanche waiting to happen. Makes yours look very tidy!


  3. You are not alone! Took me ages (like about a week) to find the birth certificates when I needed them for passports last year, have made a proper file for them now :-)

    I also unload the dishwasher while waiting for the jug to boil. The cuppa is my reward, as I hate doing it. But I have to now as the last child is at University, bummer when you have to take back all those delegated chores.

  4. Can't really help sorry, I'm atrocious at filing, everything goes into a filing tray and then a box and eventually a filing cabinet, but usually stays in the box for some time first then it's a mission to find anything.....!

  5. I'm a VA, so I love filing and creating systems! Once you have created a great system it's easy to stick to it, so no quilting time will be lost! Here are my tips...

    1) Like Viv, I have a concertina file for the REALLY important things like Birth Certs, Insurance Policies, etc. Mine is a heavy duty fireproof one - just in case.

    2) Buy a lever arch folder and plenty of dividers. Label the dividers for all your monthly bills, e.g. electricity, phone, home heating oil. I store a puncher near it and when a bill comes in (and I've paid it) I pop it in the folder and shred the previous one. Then I always have the most recent bill to hand. Same with bank statements. This folder will be your best friend if you ever have to apply for a loan or provide proof of address :)

    3) Allow yourself to have one tray or box where you can throw bills that need to be paid, but pile them in priority order and don't let that tray get out of hand. You need that tray - for those times when a bill arrives just as you are running out the door - but that can be the one that piles up if unattended. I tend to sort through it while waiting for dinner to cook, which also stops me from wandering off and letting it burn.....

    Life is too short for paperwork and I can imagine how good quilting is for the soul, so try to protect those quilt-hours!



Hi, I love reading comments, so thanks for visiting my blog and leaving me a message :)
Due to a huge increase in spam, I've disabled anonymous comments. Apologies if this effects any real life readers!