Throughout the course of life, you have gathered all types of document, some are irrelevant like promotional forms while others are very important like your birth certificate and land deed. You know that you should take better care of the important paperwork, but you can’t seem to find the time to do so. For other people, it’s a question of how do they do that? Organizing important paperwork is a skill that can be learned as long as one is willing to put in the effort. The procedure has to be repeated over and over again until it becomes a habit.
How to Organize your Important Documents
- Put All of Them in One Place
The first step to getting organized is finding where the important documents are. This is easier said than done. Make sure that you have at least an hour of uninterrupted time to find all the important documents. If you have a day off, you can start the search on this day. Since you are usually busy or tired when you arrive with the documents, there is a high probability that you placed those papers in various cabinets and drawers around the house. Thus, you have to carefully retrace your steps and search every room that you might have entered to find those documents.
- Group Them
Once you have collected all your important documents, categorize them. You can group them as home and property documents. This section will contain all the paperwork related to your mortgage, property deeds, home extension plans, appliance manuals, property tax details, and any other document linked to any property that you own. Other groups include auto records, health documents, financials, electronics paperwork (includes sales receipts and warranties for computers), and personal records.
- Vital Documents
There are important documents that can be safely kept in a filing cabinet, and there are those that can’t. These are also called vital documents. Vital paperwork often contains sensitive information that cannot be easily replaced. You cannot afford to lose vital documents because the cost of replacement is usually very high – both financially and emotionally. It is preferable if you use other methods to store vital documents. For example, you can use legal document management software like OnBase to keep track of all vital legal documents. Alternatively, you can deposit the documents in a safety deposit box.
- Make Copies
Did you know that most of the things that you carry in your wallet are important documents? For that reason, you ought to take additional safety measures. The best way to do so is to make duplicates of your driver’s licence, loyalty cards, membership cards, debit and credit cards, and any other item that’s in your wallet. Take these copies and store them in a file cabinet marked ‘Wallet Duplicates’. That way, even if you lose your wallet from theft or carelessness, you always have something to turn back to.
- Simple Filing System
Your filing system determines the overall success of your storage system. Make sure that its simple to use for anyone around you. You want it to be flexible, such that you can easily send someone to retrieve an important file when you’re not around. One way to achieve such efficiency is to attach each document category to a hanging file color. In addition, attach a number to each category so that you know how many documents are in each category. As a backup plan, you can scan all your important documents and store them in an external storage device.
Use the above strategies to organize important paperwork and always make sure that you return the documents where you found them after using them. That way, you keep the system intact and prevent it from falling apart.