Have you organized all of your papers and created a system that allows you to find what you need when you need it? How about your family members, have they all organized their papers as well? It's important that it is easy for people to search for documents in cases of emergency, but also when it comes to important life situations. If something were to happen to you, would your family be able to search for the necessary documents in order to help in times of distress? Usually people are not prepared and it can be an unnecessary burden for those you love.
Paper is not the most fun to organize, but its good to paper shred and recycle what is no longer useful and free up more space. When I did my paper organizing when I first did the KonMari Method, I really dreaded it and the experience did not spark joy. However, after I finished going through all my papers I was really happy to be able to let go of my filing cabinet and free up more space in my home. Let's first start with paper organizing:
Physical Paper Organizing
You can start paper organizing by dividing all your papers into three main categories:
Act Now: Bills, Letters, Forms, and anything that needs immediate attention and to be dealt with soon.
Temporary Papers: Car Reminders, Warranties (with no life-time), Receipts (in case you plan to return or exchange),resumes, tax documents (only keep for a certain amount of years), memberships, and anything that you just need for a limited time (until you deal with it) and not forever.
Keep Forever Papers: Will, Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Life Insurance, Mortgage, Property documents, anything considered legal documents of importance.
Once you have divided everything into these three categories, you should use the following to organize them:
Act Now: Magazine file box or tray
Temporary Papers: Folder with clear sheets, binder with clear sheets, file folders or an accordion folder.
Keep Forever: Clear Plastic Zip Case and keep within a fire proof case/box/security safe.
Once you have your papers in order, you can maintain the in-coming papers by inserting them into one of the three categories. Sometimes you may have more papers that will not fit into just one folder, so you can use multiple folders and keeping related papers together. Always label categories of papers and name of owner so that you can easily find what you need. Remember to deal with your papers right away so that the clutter is contained and you can find what you need when you need it.
Digital Paper Organizing
Once you have your papers in order, you will want to move on to digital organizing of your files and documents. You can also create similar categories within your laptop/computer files, so you can easily create your three folders and use sub categories of folders within those main three. You also want to have digital files of your papers, mainly important documents, so that you can easily find them in case of a fire, water damage or any lost documents due to natural catastrophes.
Are You Ready To Go Paperless?
Once you have organized all of your digital files and documents, you can organize your important documents so that they are safe and easy to find, but not just for yourself for your entire family. Imagine being able to retrieve important documents easily virtually from anywhere you are in times of need. There are actually three categories to organize your important digital documents into, they are:
1. Legal Documents: Social Security Cards, Marriage Certificates, Wills, Birth Certificates, Passports, Power of Attorneys, Estate Plans and Trusts.
2. Medical Documents: Vaccination Records, Medication Records, Health Benefits, Doctors Info.
3. Financial Documents: Investments, Banking Info., Pay Stubs, Bills, Tax Documents, Loans, Retirement Plans
You can also check out this app called Addmin, its a Swiss made mobile application that simplifies the centralization of your administrative documents in digital format, organizes them automatically and allows you to process them where and when you want, in complete security. Click on this link to learn more: https://addmin.com/en/about
Are you ready to get all the paper organized now? Hopefully these tips can get you started for more paper clarity both physically and digitally. If you need support and guidance on getting this done, feel free to contact me and book an appointment for a virtual or in-person session to help you declutter and organize your papers.