Paperwork overwhelming you? Piles stacked up randomly throughout the house? Unsure of where to begin? This article is for you! So, make yourself a cup of coffee or tea, get cozy on a comfortable chair and read on.
It’s okay if you’re a paper native. Going partially paperless is an option. If you so chose, subscribe to online bill pay and paperless bank statements. This will save you paperwork space. Cafe’s now offer email receipts which are convenient and better for the environment.
I personally prefer paperwork to digital files. Keep a file for bank statements, insurance policies, large purchase receipts, car repairs, home improvements, investment statements, etc. At the beginning of a new year, you can purge the bank and investment statements, utility bills, and small purchase receipts.
Permanent records such as birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, divorce papers, and passports should be kept in a fire proof safe or file box.
Keep tax returns indefinitely. The corresponding tax papers can be shredded after seven years. You may want to archive the tax forms electronically. That is perfectly acceptable by IRS standards.
It is not necessary to invest hundreds of dollars into a file cabinet. You can chose a banker’s box, plastic file crate, or a plastic file box. The only other things you would need to buy are hanging and standard file folders.
I have frequently done organizing for paperwork of 15-30 years back. Paper organizing does take time but the rewards of purging and setting up a filing system far outweigh the time involved.
Once you’re all caught up on the purging, recycling, shredding and filing of paperwork, you’ll need to maintain the system. Spend 10-15 minutes each week to get on top of the filing and discarding of paperwork. Set aside this amount of time every week on the same day and schedule it on your calendar.
Incoming papers, e.g., mail and receipts, should be gone through immediately. This will save you time in the long run.
Call Sonja at Rainy Day Organizer if you would like help sorting through all the papers and setting up a system that will work for you.
Rainy Day Organizer, 206-769-8568