Walking down memory lane via the office

Sorting bills

Oooh, you’re in for a special blog post today. The next step in my office makeover was… wait for it… paperwork and filing. You can’t stand the excitement, right?

Paperwork may not be the most photogenic or interesting topic for a blog post. But it’s a fact of life, or at least a fact of my life.

I actually have some great systems to manage paper in my office. I’ve set these up over the last few years and they work pretty well for me. So even though I’m making over the office, I’m not making over absolutely everything.

This mail organizer is my main tool. As soon as the walls were painted, I reinstalled this right away. I only file paperwork a few times a year (all of our bills except for our credit cards are set up for automatic debits), so the piles of mail and bills grow and get messy. The organizer isn’t always tidy, but it avoids the piles.

Mail organizer

Receipts live in a box in a drawer until I reconcile them with my statements.


You know we keep a pretty close eye on our finances. This reconciliation is one of the ways I do that.

Once everything is sorted, the papers go into our filing cabinet. The filing cabinet may not be the prettiest piece of furniture, but it’s very functional for us. I’ve seen some cool filing cabinet makeovers with paint, hardware and even fabric, so that may be something to consider for the future.

In the meantime, appreciate the nearly empty mail organizer.

Filing cabinet and mail sorter

The other paperwork I tackled was a huge box full of old schoolwork. As in from kindergarten through to university. Most of it ended up on the burn pile, but I kept a few things like report cards, class photos, my award-winning science project, a couple of memorable stories and this prophetic drawing.

Farm drawing

Even for the things I didn’t keep, it was fun to look back. I could see how my teacher’s comments on my grade 12 English essays made me a better writer–she was a tough marker, but completely right. In the kindergarten folder, I found this mimeographed matching sheet.

First test

On the back in my Mom’s hand-writing, it said “Julia’s first school test.” Awww.

First test

Now that I have returned from memory lane, I’m looking ahead again on what’s left for the office. Here’s where I’m at:

  • Buy and install light fixture
  • Unpack remaining boxes and organize china cabinet
  • Style china cabinet shelves
  • Sort and file paperwork
  • Install gallery wall #1
  • Install gallery wall #2
  • Reupholster seat of wooden chair

We’re down to two weeks to go in this mini One Room Challenge. Remember you can check out the official ORC participants at Calling it Home.

How do you organize mail, bills, receipts and paperwork at your house? Have you gone paperless yet? Has anyone else kept old schoolwork?

10 thoughts on “Walking down memory lane via the office

  1. Your paperwork situation looks under good control. Mine is…er, was…well, let’s just say it could use an overhaul. What I actually need is a new, convenient file cabinet. I’m using plastic file boxes and they work, they’re organized, but they’re underneath the desk, are stacked and have no wheels, so they are a pain to get to. That just makes it easier to leave paper on my side table in the living room (bad!) and on the desk (less bad) instead of filing it. A mail organizer might help, but I don’t have one of those either.
    Another good way to give file cabinets a face lift is with wallpaper, or a combo of wallpaper and paint. I’ve seen some really nice ones and when I do get a file cabinet, that’s what I’m thinking of doing too.
    You’re almost there in your office! Are you getting excited to have it done?

  2. My system is similar for the items that come into the house. I file directly into the garbage or recycling before paper even hits anyone’s in-box.

    I don’t really keep anything to file except for taxes every year and real estate data that pertains to selling our real estate someday in the future. I pay bills online, and pretty much everything else can be accessed on-line. I don’t even have a filing cabinet anymore. I have about 10 thin folders in a small plastic file box. Even that is too much space. 🙂 I am not a saver. ha!

  3. Oh my gosh my paperwork/filing situation is awful. Basically we have a drawer that we stuff everything in and once the drawer won’t close I try to sort through some so that I can get a year’s worth of paperwork in it. Our most organized area of our paperwork is Steve puts all farm related receipts in a manila folder for the year. And about March of each year we scramble to get taxes together. It’s terrible.

    The thing is, I love organizing, I love containers, and sorting and knowing where everything is. I just have never implemented a system that works for us. Maybe that should be my goal once the garden winds down or maybe on rainy weekends.

    I love your old school work! Definitely keep a few pieces!

  4. That picture you drew of farming … wow, that’s so cool! And that “Julia’s first school test” is adorable too. I know my 2nd grade teacher had wrote on one of my assignments that she knew I would grow up to be a writer. I guess she was right.

    And if I could make any project or assignment related to dogs in any way, I would! I guess some things just don’t change. Haha.

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