While everyone has a different system accommodating to their own needs here is a brief example of what works for our family. I am sure this process will evolve with time, but this is what I have as of now and it works great.
When my husband and I first moved in together he had a system he refers to as organized chaos, or in my vocabulary mass headache. Nothing could be found. Papers were strewn about in boxes drawers and all throughout the house.
So I took upon the task of getting it all organized. Now that in itself is a process, but let me tell you how much fun that is in German. Oh man!!! lol
So here is what I have as of now:
Binder 1: Husbands work and education history- this includes all school related papers, grade sheets, certificates, and degrees. As well as all work history documents- work contracts, pay stubs, old tax cards, vacation cards, important letters from employers
Binder 2: All government affiliated paperwork- unemployment, retirement, financial administration
Binder 3: Household- rental contracts, electric bills and contract, telephone contracts, health insurance
Binder 4: All things financial- banking, investments, insurances
Binder 5: Mine: Now I have only lived overseas a year so my paperwork is much less at this time thus it is easier just to keep it all together in one binder this includes- banking, bills, health insurance or records, and any misc documents I need to keep
I keep these all nicely tucked away in a bookshelf. I do have a separate folder for currents months bills, or applicable documents and I file those away after being paid.
So how do you organize your papers?