Setting Up a Filing System in a Foreign Country

I expected to change a lot of my habits when we moved to Europe.  Filing wasn’t one of them.  I thought I’d share with you after we talked about getting control of our paperwork yesterday because it’s pretty interesting trying to learn how to file all over again.

My first challenge is the language.

So that’s pretty obvious.  My German isn’t good enough to understand the difference between papers worth keeping or not.  I have to ask Martin to do the final steps in my filing, otherwise I could be throwing away one of those crazy Clearing House Sweepstakes and have no idea.  We Could Be Rich!

My second challenge is the system.

I’m used to filing folders in big drawers like this:


I biked to McPaper for filing supplies.  It’s Germany’s version of an office chain store like Staples is to the US, except it’s like the size of the Staples bathroom.  The hanging files and manilla folders that I was used to filing with were in the back of the store.  They cost around a buck each.  Huh?  My filing system came to a screeching halt.  There was no way I was going to spend that much money.  Like a kid to ice cream, I followed everyone else in the store and gave in to the local system.

I bought a couple of huge binders and clear protective sheets to start building our own German filing system like this one:


Do you ever find yourself stumbling with the world’s most mundane tasks, too?

(Images from Target and Making This Home)