Getting organized should be a part of any adult’s everyday life. Whether it’s your home office, kitchen, desk at work, or even your personal computer, having a system of organization can save you time every day and create a stress-free environment for yourself and those you live with. However, keeping organized not only saves you time and stress, but when it comes to important paperwork and documents, it can also save you and your money in the long run.
Organization is more than simply knowing where to put things — it also includes creating a filing system and a way to ensure necessary documents, trusts, certificates, tax files, and more are safe and secure. It also means having a spouse or family member know where you keep these documents in the case of an emergency.
Here are a few tips and tricks to get started:
- Get rid of waste — anything you no longer need. Do you have a file of receipts from 2017 that you were saving to help your budget? Do you have auto insurance paperwork from several years ago? These are examples of the waste you might find when organizing your documents and filing system. However, consider the way you dispose of this waste — if there’s any identifying information on them, use a shredder (inexpensive shredders are easy to find if you don’t already have one). Also, consider going paperless for documents such as bank statements or utility bills to save space for more important items.
- Create an easy filing system. It’s important to ensure your filing system is easy for your family to navigate in case you’re in a position where you can’t access them yourself. Keep your files in a secure location in your home; if you plan to lock your filing cabinet, make sure you have more than one spare key. Alphabetizing folders and noting clearly what’s in the folders will make it easy for you to find what you need when you need it.
- Keep it protected. If you don’t already own a fireproof safe deposit box, consider investing in one for your most important documents. Keep it in a safe space, but somewhere it can be easily found by those in your household. Use this box to store documents such as marriage and birth certificates, titles, military records, and anything that would be difficult or expensive to replace.