Once you’ve got house, a family, and your life to keep in order, organizing paperwork can fall by the wayside. This means that many of us build up huge, toppling piles of paper from various different sources. It is all mushed together, no matter where it has come from or what it is regarding! This, while convenient, easily turns into a nightmare. You can find anything you actually need, and you might even miss deadlines or important dates.
If this sounds like something that has been happening to you, it’s time to get organized. Here is a foolproof guide to getting your paperwork in order once and for all.
Gather everything together
First thing is first. Gather every bit of paperwork you have together. It may be dotted in different places across the house. You need to find things like bills, receipts, information letters and other post received that was worth keeping. Also, gather your own personal documents, like your birth certificates and passports. You might be alarmed to see the pile growing, but keep going! Don’t stop until you’ve gathered absolutely everything together.
Shred and recycle anything you don’t need
Now you’ve got your pile it is time to reduce it in size. You’ll probably be pretty overwhelmed, but this will cut the size dramatically. You will have accrued a lot of things that can be discarded or thrown away. You bank maybe have sent you a four-page letter, for example, but you only need to keep the first page. Be sure you shred anything with confidential information on. Do you best to recycle, too.
Organize into piles
Now that you have the things you need to keep, it’s time to sort them into piles. Figure out first which piles you need. You may need them for gas, electricity and water suppliers. Also, any TV, music or movie subscriptions. You may want to make a career pile, for things like invoices, contracts, and other work-related forms. Plus there will be a few miscellaneous piles too. Make one for paperwork relating to your car, for example.
Fill in the gaps
Now things are starting to come together; you will start to see gaps appearing. You might realize that you lost something important, or need a password to access something stored partially online. Take some time to fill in these gaps; don’t put it off. If you notice you are missing service manuals, download them online. Either store them in a folder on your computer or print them out and add to the right pile.
Scan anything important
Many people forget this step. Once you come across something important, consider scanning it and saving a digital copy. This means that you have a backup copy of it should anything happen to your files in the future. It also means you can access the information when you’re not in the house.
File away into folders
You’re nearly there! You’ve collected everything together and thrown away the clutter. You’ve successfully organized everything into the right pile. Now you just need to file everything away into folders, and you’re done. Congrats!