Cabinets Primer

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Q: Unlike my filing system—where I named each drawer and folder—FileThis provides a list of cabinets for me. So what exactly goes where?

A: The list of default cabinets should cover every broad area of your life that produces documents, from health-insurance records to concert tickets. As you add documents during the alpha phase of FileThis, the first decision you will make is “Which cabinet?” After that, you can apply tags to specifically indicate the document’s content.
How you organize your document is totally up to you. And FileThis is designed for you to find documents in many different ways—by text, tags, and more—regardless of which cabinet the document is in. Plus, unlike a physical document, you can place a document in FileThis in more than one cabinet. In general, however, this is how you file:

  • Vital Records: Birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, divorce agreements, Social Security paperwork, citizenship information, passport details. (You need to keep all vital records that include raised seals and original signatures such as birth certificates, car titles, deeds, living trusts, and the like.)
  • Education: Grades, diplomas, degrees, tuition/tutor payments, financial aid documents.
  • Employment: Employee agreements, benefits information, stock options, retirement plans, pay stubs, expense reports, professional memberships.
  • Financial: Credit card statements, bank statements, tax returns, tax records, retirement accounts, stock information.
  • Health: Medical records, immunization records, health-care insurance information, prescriptions.
  • Home: Mortgage paperwork, titles/deeds, apartment leases, roommate agreements, property-tax records, renovation records, homeowners/renters insurance.
  • Keepsakes: Anything you’d stick on a bulletin board such as concert tickets, special notes, children’s drawings, cartoons, certificates, recipes.
  • Legal: Wills, titles, deeds, living trusts, contracts, and other legal agreements.
  • Possessions: Documents related to valuable items—such as cars, jewelry, artwork, furniture, appliances—including loans, leases, appraisals, receipts, repair work, warranties.
  • Recreation: Fitness center contracts, sports team registrations and paperwork, travel-related documents, subscription and membership statements.
  • Utilities: Statements from providers of your cable, Internet, telephone, cellphone, gas, electric, water, sewer, trash.

You can create as many additional cabinets as you wish. As an organizational strategy, it’s a good idea to reserve cabinets for broad categories and use tags for subsets of information. If you own two cars, for example, it would work to place car-related documents in the Possessions cabinet and use tags to specify details such as which car and the type of paperwork. On the other hand, if you own 18 cars, you might be able to justify a Cars cabinet.