Family, Filing and Fun

Published Wednesday, February 02, 2011 4:43 PM

Filing doesn't usually rank high on the list of fun family activities but if you want to get your family on-board with family filing, we have a few strategies.

The Family That Files Together

To begin, educate your family members. Explain that the volume of paperwork coming into the house (bills, receipts, permission slips, class trip notifications, sports schedules, art work, etc.) is too much for one person to handle. If everyone pitches in, the job will go faster leaving free time for enjoyable family activities such as movies or game night.

Next, set up a basic system to triage paperwork that is easy enough for the whole family to follow. Consider using manila envelopes in the kitchen labeled with each family member's name for offloading documents. Or label the envelopes with categories such as to-do, to-sign, to-file, etc. and have everyone stash their paper in the corresponding file. For more on making the most of manila envelopes for organizing, read Creating a Home Paper Management System. 

Keep family members involved by rotating tasks. Consider having an older child pitch in on the weekly or monthly filing. Having an older teen file bills and medical paperwork is a great way of teaching budgeting fundamentals. If one spouse typically handles the bill paying or filing, consider switching off every other month so the division of labor is fairer. This also allows both partners to be fully up to speed in the family's financials.

Incentivize you family for pitching in. The child who unloads all their school and sports papers into their correct manila folder for a week gets a special treat. Did a teen tackle a particularly onerous stack of filing or bring order to an unruly pile? Let them pick the next movie for a family outing.


Other family filing ideas include creating a customizable family notebook where paperwork is divided into categories (i.e. sports/religion/menus) when family members can always find schedules and important contact numbers. Store this in the kitchen. Families should also have a go-to file for emergencies in the event of a weather of health disaster. For tips, read Life Hacker's Organizing Family Papers for Emergencies. 

How do you tackle family filing? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.

by Bradley Eggers


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