Working with binders

Does someone has a good way of dealing with physical papers?

I was thinking of having a binder per area, e.g. 20-29 Property. Inside I would put a ten-numbered index with each tab a different category, e.g. 21 Purchases and warranties.

But how do you deal with the labeling and grouping of the IDs? (I.e. the papers) For instance, there may be multiple receipts for a given purchase, and ideally they would be consistently labeled and somehow grouped without using staples. Preferably without having to write on the paper. Post-its feel unreliable.

Have you seen the home page in the last week? It’s been updated with a real-life example which uses boxes and folders.

Would ‘old skool’ manila folders work here? Or some other sort of per-ID divider?

Or if you want to use ring binders you could do a binder per category and use plastic sleeve inserts per ID? Depends how much you need to store and how much room you’ve got.

For purchases / receipts, I feel like you could benefit from the idea I used for my patterns: each one gets a number directly (instead of the number being attributed to a folder in which there will mostly be just one thing). When a given purchase has multiple receipts, use the same number and append letter as necessary. For example:

21.01 Computer
21.02a cool thing with multiple receipts
21.02b cool thing with multiple receipts
21.03 Garbage can

As for the physical thing, I used to mark the numbers directly on the item or on a sheet of paper that was then put in the same plastic “pocket”/ sheet with the item. If you keep these in a binder for example, that’s the easiest in my mind. You’d then have one plastic sheet by number and all different letters can go in the same (in the physical case, you might not actually need the letters ¯_(ツ)_/¯

I’m trying to keep up with the RSS feed, but this doesn’t ring a bell. I couldn’t find it in a quick look. Do you mind sharing a link?

A folder or plastic sleeve seems a little excessive to me. A single ID would one be one purchase, so it would only be a few papers at most. In most cases probably only a single slip.

Maybe I’ll just do a paper clip and a pre-printed label to keep it consistent and tidy. (Which is my main goal)

I think the first true discussion about it was through emails, but it’s mentioned here then : Individual Files don't get JD numbers, right? - #3 by johnnydecimal

Whatever works for you is fine! In the case of the patterns they can take quite some space and even the plastic sheet is sometimes very full ^^

Does someone has a good way of dealing with physical papers?

For me, I decided on those hanging filing cabinet folders in a box. Each folder is a category, not an ID, for example “21 Health/Wife” which contains reports, invoices, and the like. I haven’t bothered with labeling the IDs because my mother’s had a similar folder for my health-related documents in a filing cabinet for many years. Not having IDs or labels on individual items hasn’t caused any significant problems that I can recall. I don’t see it causing a problem for me either, especially if I take the time to maintain my index in a notebook or notes app.

In your example 21, I guess my answer is, use a paperclip, it just don’t worry about it.

How many purchases and warranties will you have for your property in a year? A washing machine here, a vacuum there — maybe, I don’t know, 20 things in a year? A folder per year or just one folder for everything would both be plausible. If you know it’s in that folder, how hard could it be to look through twenty or even fifty documents? You likely won’t have to look at them often, anyway. Add a paperclip to docs that should stick together, and that seems like a pretty good system to me. :wink:

If you went with one folder, you could look through it once a year or so to see what’s expired and Marie Kondo the old documents into the circular file to keep the size down.


That’s just my 2¢. Hope it’s helpful!

Thanks for your input! In the end, I reconsidered how much I could keep in an ID. My initial assumption was 1 receipt = 1 ID. Now I keep a large set, and doesn’t have a dedicated receipts category. Instead, I can have 21 Car/21.02 Repairs (which would contain the receipts for all repairs) and 22 Household/22.05 Kitchen renovation 2024, which could include a receipt for a dishwasher we bought during a renovation, for examples.

I then have one binder per category (not all categories have a binder) and an index where I write the ID.

I find it easier to anchor my system in physical things first, and push the abstract things as far down as possible. Abstract things can overlap (Finance vs. Insurance) but objects cannot (House vs. Car).

(Side note: there is a memory technique where the idea is to build an imaginary world where you place items (things you want to remember). You then recall by walking around your imaginary world. I think that idea is related to why I find focusing on physical objects first is faster.)

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