Organizing your Filing Cabinet
This is the only way to keep your papers in order: Getting rid of old files, finding a filing system that works for you, and continually maintaining it. And here are the steps with the full article on link below. And please contact me, The Chicago Organizer, for help in making this project happen. Paper organization will keep you from missing payments, lower stress when you know you’re on top of this overwhelming and ongoing project, and can help you find what you need, when you need it!
- First you need to own a decent filing cabinet. It’s one of the best organizing tips most Professional Organizers will give you. And if you’re an out-of-sight, out-of-mind person. Keep the drawer open until you’ve trained your brain all you need to do is open it to file. And then begin to purge unnecessary files. It doesn’t need to be done all at once. Perhaps set the goal of 1-3 folders a day. Receipts for products you no longer own. Easy items to purge are junk mail you might have stored; old bills for services you no longer use; business information from old jobs; travel info you can find on the internet updated.
- Don’t be afraid to get of things. You know the difference between important tax info and birth certificates from beauty tips from magazines you ripped out 10 years ago and never looked at!
If you’re purging at work, please ask your superiors about policies.
Decide what items you should keep. Recommended to keep paper copies of tax returns for 7 years and receipts to substantiate your deductions. Keep insurance records, mortgage statements and proof of charitable donations for up to three years. Make sure to keep very important documents like birth and marriage certificates, social security cards, titles, deeds, and passports. Keep them safe and never get rid of them.
- Shred documents that have your signature, birthday, social security and account numbers on them.
- Shred and destroy digital media too.
- Then categorize by what makes sense to YOU. You might consider: Utilities, Auto, Medical, Pet, Business, Home, Taxes, Finances. Keep your categories simple.
- Clearly label each pendaflex hanging folder with the master category and use manila folders for subfolders within the master file. For example, your Pet master folder might then have subfolders for your dog and your cat files.
- Let each drawer hold its own category, and label it clearly as well. All financial documents in one drawer; personal in another; and instructions possibly in their own drawer.
You might find that colored folders or tabs work for you. And you can always change the system if it’s not working for you!
- To maintain the system, be proactive and stay organized and on top of incoming papers that need to be acted upon, then filed or shredded. If the pile stays small if you handle paper projects daily, then you won’t be overwhelmed.
- Reorganize at least once a year by throwing out no longer needed papers and consider moving to digital files if you have scanning capabilities. Digital folders also need maintenance and organization!
Article credit: wikihow.com/Organize-a-Filing-Cabinet