organize important documents

When it comes to organizing all of your important documents, you might be putting it off till later. But you are fully aware that doing that will only burden you later on in life. This is why you need to know how to organize important documents so that it is easy on you and your loved ones when the time arrives.

How to organize important documents

The following are some of the ways that enable you to organize important documents to ensure you can find it when you need it.

Start with decluttering to organize important documents

It is always a good idea to start with getting rid of papers and receipts that are no longer valid. When you put all the papers that you have together, you will notice that there is a lot of paper that you don’t even require. For example, if you receive catalogs and junk mail that you have no use of, then you can throw those away so that you don’t have a pile that you need to deal with. Decluttering early makes you clutter-free and makes paper organizing much easier for you. When it comes to organizing important documents, this can be quite beneficial for you.

File the documents to organize important documents

If you have not done so, then now is the time to start organizing your documents. For example, you need first to determine all the papers that you have and what they are useful for. You can then use files or containers to keep the different categories separate. This will ensure that when a paper from one of the categories is required, you can fish it out in seconds without wasting time and your patience. You need to start getting in the habit of filing your documents on a regular basis so that you continue to do that when you have more documents that you need to organize.

Think about storage to organize important documents

This might sound silly to some, but you need to think of a foolproof way to store the original copies of all the important documents that you have. You don’t want your documents to be damaged in any way because they are crucial and important. If you do not have a copy of the original papers, then get them done immediately and store them separately. You can store the important original documents in fireproof container or storage box to be sure that they are always going to be safe. You need to store them so that if something happens to you, then your loved ones can easily get access to them when necessary.

Save a digital copy to organize important documents

While storing an extra copy is beneficial, you can store one copy of all your important documents digitally on your laptop or desktop. This will ensure that you have a digital copy always. You need to ensure that you have a proper backup on your external hard drive and other places too to be completely sure. You can back it up on the cloud for extra protection if you wish. A digital copy will be easy to retrieve as well in case the other copies are lost or destroyed unexpectedly. You can scan each of the documents to organize important documents on your computer.

Don’t let sentimental clutter confuse you.

You should keep the sentimental papers away from where you store your important documents. Sentimental papers can be extremely important to you, but it is vital that you keep them away from papers that affect you (and your family) in many ways. The reason for this is that your important papers will seem quite cluttered when you keep them together with the rest of the papers such as sentimental papers. You can keep anything sentimental in other storage boxes but away from where you organize important documents and store them. This will ensure you have all the papers that matter to you in one single place.

Add color and label

When it comes to arranging and organizing, adding color is a great option. You can take different colored files, containers, and storage for storing your important documents. This method of record keeping makes it easy for you to retrieve the particular documents that you need to get to. You should label the files and folders as well so you that you don’t have to go through each of the files to get to the file and documents that you are looking for. Try to have an array of colors for the different categories of documents that you organize. This will ensure easy retrieval of your documents when the need for them arises.

Maintain to organize important documents

You need to ensure that you are giving enough time to organize all of your important documents. You need to set aside some time every year so that you are organizing all the important documents. Organizing is not a one-time task, but it is the regular maintenance that matters too. You should be able to regularly organize all your papers so that you are slowly decluttering and ensuring that only what matters to you is organized. This can save you days when it comes to organizing which is why you should put in the effort to organize your important documents as they come or every weekend.

Avoid miscellaneous papers

When you are organizing your important documents, you need to avoid containers that cannot be properly defined. That is if some papers come in none of the big categories of documents that you can keep them all together. You can label it and write the names of the types of documents that the particular file has. Avoid using ‘miscellaneous’ so that you keep clutter at bay. You must ensure that the papers that you are storing are not being stored forever because not all of them will be required throughout your lifetime. The following section gives you an idea about how long the different documents and papers should be stored for.

Record keeping made simple.

Are you unsure about how many days or years you need to keep the different documents for? The following can help guide you so that you are aware of how long you need to keep something with you.

What you can store for up to 3 months

  • Bank deposit slips.
  • Bills that you get for utility and others.
  • Receipts of purchases for groceries and small items.

What you can store for a year

  • Monthly statements that you receive regarding the mortgage.
  • Checkbook ledgers.
  • Insurance records that are no longer required.

What you can store for 5 to 7 years

  • Medical bills.
  • Checks that were canceled.
  • Bank statements.

What you can store for as long as you wish

  • Will.
  • Tax returns.
  • Home-related documents.
  • Burial instructions.
  • All legal documents.
  • Insurance policies.
  • Medical history and records.
  • Receipts required for insurance and warranty.
  • Records about retirement, pension, and education.

What needs to go to the bin right away

  • Warranties that have expired.
  • Shopping coupons that are no longer valid.
  • Booklets and manuals that you have never referred to and won’t.

While efficient record keeping can sound a little tough, it is not as you can see. So if you have not started to manage and organize important documents, now is a great time to start. Better late than never!

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