I love to file! Piles of paperwork sorted and stored in such a way that anyone can find a document, what’s better than that. One of the most common issues I have found in paper management is that the filing system is not maintained, items are put in files but then never looked at again. Below are the steps I recommend for filing success!
1)Make it easily accesible – I don’t like boxes with lids for everyday filing because it is so easy for papers to pile up on top and never get put away. I recommend at least a two drawer filing cabinet. This filing cabinet is $40 from Staples.
2) Seperate the files into ones that you will go through annually. Financial documents, tax records, bills, utilities, etc. would fall into one category while household items like receipts for electronics, security systems, landscaping etc would fall under another category.
3)Label the hanging file folders categorically and insert manila folders for individual accounts. For example you most likely have more than one credit card so the tab on the hanging file folder would say credit card and the manila folder would hold individual accounts. The reason for this is so that when you change accounts you won’t have to change your entire filing system, just a manila folder.
4) Review your filing system documents annually, this not only helps you financially but also helps maintain the system. This doesn’t generally take a long time especially if you have only 1 year of documents to review. Some items that tend to junk up the filing cabinets include old credit card statements, banking statements, health insurance explanation of benefits, or receipts for items that are no longer owned or not necessary to keep.
Please feel free to post any questions you might have regarding this process!
PS (A few years ago I helped a client put together a filing system, the week after we finished her husband suffered a heart attack. He quickly recovered and is doing well, but a month later she contacted me to thank me for the filing system. She had seconds to grab everything they needed for the hospital and because of her new filing system didn’t even need to think about where her insurance and health documents were located. I was so grateful for her sharing this with me because that is exactly why I started this company, to help people lead better lives!)