My alternative to the file cabinet.

UPDATE: Check out the finished version of my File Cabinet makeover here, complete with free binder printables!

Today I took a break from the standard Saturday decorating+renovating to practice another one of my most favorite pastimes... organizing.

I had decided not to go with the traditional lateral filing cabinet for our office when I spotted this Aspvik wall cabinet on Ikea for $100:

I loved the look of it and immediately pictured the perfect spot for it over our desk. I hadn't really thought out the logistics of it at that point, but I knew I'd find a way to make it work.

Whilst at Ikea, I grabbed a couple packages of these babies for just $2 each:

Can't go wrong with them at that price, right? But then came the challenging part... figuring out how to organize all our papers within these boxes. They aren't really meant for that, as they are magazine files, so I had to get creative. Then, in a moment of genius, a binder popped into my head. Inside the binder were clear sleeves, which held not only paper but all the loose miscellaneous things that often need to be filed. Bin-go! Once the idea was planted, I couldn't wait to get to Target and start browsing the aisles for all of the exciting ways to fulfill my organizational fantasies.

So last night I get to Target... and I was underwhelmed to say the least. I remember Walmart having tons of great office supplies so I figured Target would be even better... but nope. They had one small section of binders + binder accessories, so my options were very limited. Everything was pricier than I thought, too. When all was said and done, I walked out with ten binders, 200 sleeves, 20 section dividers, 3 expanding pockets, and labels at the expense of $50. I had ten magazine boxes, so I had planned to break down all of our files into ten categories, assign each binder a category, and store them inside their own box (alongside any extra papers that may be too bulky which is what the expanding pockets were for). Here's the category breakdown for those of you wondering:

Jenna Personal (birth certificates, transcripts, passport, licenses, personal letters/notes/keepsakes, etc)
Brad Personal (same)
Auto (broken down by car: maintenance/repair logs, insurance, titles, bills of sale, etc)
Medical/Health (medical bills, insurance packets)
Finance/Money (anything bank related, student loans, credit cards)
Employment (resumes, W-2's, acceptance letters, freelance invoices/forms)
Warranties & Manuals
House #1 (loan/refi docs, rental stuff, maintenance/repair bills, tax/insurance forms, deeds, etc)
House #2 (same)
Etsy (will serve as a catalog, more or less, of all my prints, with color + font sheets, financial/tax docs, etc)

Good plan, right? I thought so.

There was just one minor problem...

Okay, duh. How did I not even consider that. My plan B then became to ditch most of the boxes, use just the binders, line them up, slap labels on them and call it a day. I would use some boxes for bulkier items (product manuals, legal sized loan docs, etc).

Here's the supplies all lined up, ready to get to work...

Sorry for all the blurry pics, didn't have my tripod...

And here was the mess of papers we've been living with since the move, in desperate need of organization for our own sanity:

This doesn't look like much, but I swear there was ridiculous amounts of crap to sort through!

Step #1 was to sort through years worth of junk (most of it Brad's) into ten different piles by category:

This was at least a two hour process, maybe three... see that stack in the back right that's a foot high? That's our first house. So.Much.Crap. Anyway... about half of everything was discarded, and then it was time to get down to business.

I started with the easiest one first, my personal binder. Here's a peek of the finished result:

How much better is that than digging through a stack of papers in a hanging folder? I love this solution and wish I could have used it sooner. We've often had to dump out large stacks of folders in a pile to frantically search for an important paper, and that's never fun. I'll spare you shots of the insides every other folder, and skip straight to the nice and organized after shot:

If you are OCD about organizing like me, then this pic should make you breathe a sigh of relief. I know I've been for the past couple hours now that it's all done.

Here's a shot of the other side of the cabinet, in case you're curious:

It will basically just be used to hold my paper, and some packing materials once I get them ordered.

Don't fret for the spare boxes that got left out, they are resting happily in the closet until I can find a new use for them:

So there you have it—my cheap, easy and effective file organizing system. All is now right in the world. (At least, in my world, cause there's no more boxes of junk to sort through!)

Be back tomorrow for some fun wall art!

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