Organizing, Redesign & Staging

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Filing Tips

– Use hanging folders to support manila folders, which will store your documents. Broad categories are for hanging files; specific ones are for the folders. Broad categories would include household, auto, real estate, employment, banking, credit cards, and family members’ names (for personal paperwork).

– Pick the name you would think of first if you had to find the file. But try to use generic folder names whenever possible -- without confusing two files. For example, name the file “Telephone” rather than “Verizon”. That way, you don’t have to start a new file if you change phone companies.

– Group similar documents together, whenever possible. For example, if you have more than one business credit card, begin each file name with “Credit Card”, then the name of the credit card.

– You don’t need to keep the utility bills from 8 months ago – generally having the last few stubs in case you have a question is plenty. Many things you pay bills for are set-up where the current statement makes the prior one obsolete.

– Keep in mind that tax related documents must be kept for seven years, insurance policies can be tossed once they expire, and home and auto records should be kept for as long as you own the property.

– Always add new items to the front of the file so that your most recent documents are in the front. Recent documents are referred to more often than older ones.

– When you sort through your incoming mail, immediately pull out the bills and put them in a designated area. Whatever container you use, make sure it is in a convenient spot near where you drop your keys and the rest of the mail or the desk that you pay bills. Also, try to spend a few extra minutes opening the bills and discarding the outer envelope as well as the envelope stuffers. Get it down to just the bill and its return envelope, or just the statement if you do online banking.