Paper clutter is an issue for many. We are constantly bombarded with paper everyday. One of the roadblocks I often see is people just don’t know what to keep and what not to keep. They end up keeping everything and before they know it the filing cabinet is stuffed and paper is piling up all around them! Typically we only retrieve 20% of the paper we file, which means 80% of it we do not need!
To get started in clearing your paper clutter, you must start with purging your files! It's recommended you go through this process at least every year. This will make sure the 80% of the paper that is not needed out of the filing space. When there is less to organize, there is less to maintain.
To assist you in what to keep, we have added a new form to our Resources page: Important Documents and Papers. We hope this will give you a guideline to help with the sorting process. Click here to download today!
***As noted in the form, please be sure to check with your Financial Advisor or Accountant for specific information.
Now that you know what papers to keep, you can start to set up your filing system.
Here are a few tips to consider:
1) Keep the system simple - keep only what you have too, and name the files in a way you will remember what is in them.
2) Add files to the front - To retrieve a paper, it will be easier to find if it's in a chronological order.
3) Don't overstuff - One of the biggest roadblocks in keeping a system working is a file that is too full. Make sure you are keeping what you need, and if needed, add a file to the category. Leave plenty of room to add new paper.
4) Have extra supplies - Another roadblock is not preparing a new file for paper because the supplies are not available. Keep extra file folders, hanging folders, tabs, etc in the back of the filing cabinet, so they are easy and accessible when needed.
5) Avoid the To Be File & Misc. File - These are both dumping grounds. Get used to the "touch it once" rule. Once the paper is in hand, file it. If a paper does not have its own category, how important really is the paper? If it is important then make its own file, but avoid putting it in misc. Out of sight is often out of mind.
Until Next Time...