Tackling Your Paper Piles
If you are surrounded by paper piles this blog is for you. Following are techniques you can use to manage the paper in your home and life. I have also included a link at the end where I share how I organize the paper in my life. So let’s get started.
Create a list-Before tackling the piles create a list of the documents you need to keep
- Medical-Insurance, Test Results
- House-Deed/Lease, Repairs, Insurance
- Financial-Bank, Investments
- Work-Benefits, Performance Reviews, Resumes, Certificates
Tackle the piles-Depending on how long the piles or files have been untouched you may want to begin sorting by year (2018, 2017, 2016). Once the years are sorted then sort into categories focusing on the current year first. This will make it easier to decide what information you need to keep from previous years. For example you want to keep at least 7 years of tax records but may not want to keep receipts of items you purchased with cash like groceries after several months and especially not last year.
Setting up your filing system-Use the list you created of the documents you need and the piles that have been sorted to set up the files. Be sure to alphabetize them and use one of the following ways to store them
Going paperless-If you are thinking of going paperless you can start with your bank statements. I like receiving a notice that my statements are available and I no longer print them to reconcile my account. You can also request to receive notices when your bills are due. Also consider scanning existing documents like your tax returns to reduce the amount of paper in your archive files.
Other items-Following are ways you can organize and store other paper items
- Cards and stationary use a decorative box and keep them accessible.
- Keepsakes, cards and letters (birthday cards and letters received)-These can be stored in a plastic container and placed on the top shelf of a closet, in a basement or attic.
- Archive Documents-these items should be stored in boxes clearly labeled until you are ready or they can be legally discarded.
Maintenance-Make sure you schedule time regularly to go through your mail to file or scan documents. Each year have a set time when you will discard and shred information that you no longer legally have to hold onto to eliminate future piles from accumulating.
As promised here is the link to my YouTube Channel where I show you how I manage the paper in my life. If you want a strategy on how you can tackle your paper piles click the following link to schedule a FREE 30 minute consultation so I can help you on your journey to living an organized life.