Eventually we grow up and leave our parents home and into our own. As time progresses and we live our lives then move on to starting our own families. During these life changing events we accumulate paperwork, whether we want to or not. Most of these papers are important and cannot be simply thrown in a box and forgotten. Creating and maintaining a functional filing system is important and, in some cases, life saving.
Here are some tips for establishing a foolproof filing system that will make finding information easy.
Tip # 1
For your own files, an alphabetical system will suffice. For a family file, a color coded system is very effective. Combining the two can be done based on your needs.
Gather all of your papers that need to be filed and sort them into piles. Make a list of general categories; such as receipts, contracts, correspondence, and insurance.
Make a separate folder for each category and label it. File each document in its appropriate folder.
If an item falls under multiple categories make a copy for each file or place a note in respective noting its primary location.
If there are any leftover papers leftover that deserve their own file store them in a Miscellaneous File.
Within each folder, place items in chronological order; with the most recent in front.
Review the contents of the folders periodically to determine what is obsolete and what can be archived. Items such as financial records should be archived once a year and stored someplace safe and dry. Items like receipts that no longer have a warranty attached can be considered obsolete after a certain amount of time and can be thrown away.
Use staples to attach relevant papers together. Paper clips and rubber bands snag and tear when caught.
If you don’t have time to file regularly make sure to set up a “to be filed” box and place items waiting for attention in this box.
Items that need to be removed for extended periods of time need to be replaced with a reminder note of their location.
File business card separately in a business card holder for easier access.
Put together a weekly and monthly “ticker” file to remind you of important deadlines.