De-clutter: What you bind(er) on earth you bind(er)…My topic #239

I stumbled upon a method to get some of my files organized. For a long time, I was thinking like a secretary/office manager. I would put various papers into file folders and stick them in a file cabinet. Of course, my filing would invariably get behind. The files were not always the most accessible, usable way to keep track of the paperwork. For example, in the case of medical records, there was a lot of rifling through papers to get at the information i needed. When my son was in the hospital, I determined that it was essential to be able to quickly access his meical info on the go as we traversed the hospital and then the city. So, I gathered all of his medical reports, lab reports etc, and arranged them in a binder. Within the binder, I separated the info into sections: a section for lab tests; a section for doctor info; a section for notes taken during doctor appointments; a section for current medications (retaining old pages with past medication info). This has worked fabulously.

This was rather eye-opening and exciting, as far as i was concerned. My next step was to set up similar binders for my husband, each pet, and me. Now when any of heads to the doc (or the vet) we bring along the appropriate binder. All new info goes right into it, notes taken at the appointment go right in there. This is a great little tool, and i am convinced that I will be able to stay right on top of things with these binders.

Since I was on a roll, I gathered together all of the service records for each car and bindered them as well. Again, I had separate sections—one for services done, and one for warrantees. Now I can instantly put my hands on the info.

I don’t know why having it in a binder makes it so much more dramatically accessible, but it does. So I thought I would share it with others. Have any of you tried anything like this? If so, how did you like it? Did youput in any refinements that you think would be helpful?

About Kate Kresse

I love to write, I love to talk, I love to uplift people when I can. I am a woman in love with life. I am a wife, mom, tutor, writer, and I am a perennial optimist. (OK not every single minute but you get the point! :-)
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9 Responses to De-clutter: What you bind(er) on earth you bind(er)…My topic #239

  1. Madeline Lund says:

    We have been using a similar system for my parents medical info. I use an expandible folder with all 3 sides solid and a closing flap over the top. We call it the “football”. Like the term they use for that black briefcase that goes everywhere with the President. Inside is current meds list on a spreadsheet, alergy list, all doctors with contact info and copy of most recent tests. I take that with to every Dr. apt. and add to it. I always have extras of the med spreadsheet to hand out as needed. Have gotten many RN compliments for that one idea alone. I have copies of the power of attorney paperwork in there too–just in case. We also have a copy that is not quite as fresh in the kitchen near the phone in case we need info for 911 responders.

    I started this method when I became the caregiver for Dad before he died. It really worked well and we have continued it for Mom now that she lives with us. I have started to get the info together for my husband and I. It will make life easier on our 4 kids if anything bad happens.

    You’re on the money–I like your suggestion here to extend this to other parts of our lives!

    BTW–nice imbed of the Detroit video!

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Thanks Madeline! like your idea of calling it the football! Our RNs and docs love the fact we give them updated lists of meds etc—as various family members see multiple docs and they don’t always keep each other apprised. Love the idea of the POA on hand—going to do that and have updayed copies of living wills etc.

  2. Oh, I have done this with my mother’s estate info, since I knew I needed to keep all these important papers for tax purposes.
    Also, we do this with our warranties and owner’s manuals on all our appliances, ceiling fans, etc. In this binder, we have a separate section for installed things such as the dishwasher. I will pull all those files and tuck them into a zip-loc bag for the buyer, should we ever move. Then there is another section for things like the T.V., which would go with us. It is so helpful. Cannot tell you how many times I consulted the manual for the stove, on how to set it for timed baking! 🙂
    Lastly, my BANK (so you know it’s a great idea!) gave me a binder and sends me my statements on hole-punched paper to fit the binder. I love it.
    Why does it work? I think because within the file, we can have subdivisions. Also, everything is attached so it stays in order. I love that.
    Great post. You made me think about how much I like this method and WHY ON EARTH I DON’T DO ALL MY FILES THIS WAY?!
    I knew I was going to love this site. 🙂

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Follow up question about the manuals and warranties : do you punch holes in the manuals or put each one in sheet protector? Isn’t it amazing how many ways to binderize life there are? Loved your reply

      • I cheat.
        For the manuals, we had this old box with a lid that shuts tightly. It was actually made for filing and came with labeled dividers in it. We flipped the dividers and relabeled them: Heat & Air, Kitchen, Well Pump, things like that. All owner info goes into this box.
        However, since we’ve moved 15 times in 41 years of marriage, and have lived in every conceivable type of house (I have to preface this because the following is SO not like us) we once owned a spa and when a storm blew its manual from its peg into the water, we had to take the manual apart and spread it all over our carpets to dry, then reassemble it with each page inside a page protector and into a 3-ringed binder.
        We’re not picky. 🙂

        • Kate Kresse says:

          sounds like my folder sysem in my file cabinet.– thinking about using pocket folders for each item and then putting the pocket folder in the cabinet open side down with the top long side labeled with the content title. Then inside the pocket folder I can stick any repairs etc for that item. Things are in too many places right now.

    • Kate Kresse says:

      thanks Kathy–and I wonder the same thing—why don’t I do that with everything!

  3. Love file cabinets! Have one with four drawers and have my eye on another, an antique, but have to decide where to put it, first. Maybe just need to eleminate some fiiles. 🙂

    • Kate Kresse says:

      I found a fabulous 4 drawer file cabinet and a rolling 2-drawer cabinet a Goodwill–in perfect condition. They always have file cabinets—often barely openable, but sometimes they have great ones.

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