If you haven’t given your files a glance recently, it’s likely time for a purge. You may have stacks of paper all over your house, or you may have papers languishing in your files that you no longer need. Either way, take some time this week to sort through your files and get them in shape. Organizing your papers helps you find what you need, when you need it. (And maybe even make tax time easier for you next year!)
If you need to create a filing system, follow these steps. How you sort and label each category and subcategory depends on what paperwork you have and what you need to keep track of (yourself, partner, 3 dogs, 4 kids, etc.)
- Gather all of your paperwork into one place.
- Sort papers into high level categories (Auto, Health Insurance, Health Information, Home Improvements, etc.).
- Create labels / hanging folders for each high level category.
- Where necessary, sort high level categories into smaller subcategories (one for each car, each person’s health info, etc.). Label these folders.
- Put all paper you are keeping into their labeled folders.
- Recycle or shred the paperwork you don’t need.
I suggest keeping your system simple so it’s easy to maintain and expand. Feel free to color code, but keep in mind it needs to be easy to add more categories and subcategories.
No matter the state of your files, take some time to go through each folder, purge and shred what you don’t need, and catch up on your stack of filing. If you need guidance on what to keep or toss, ask your financial advisor or do some online research. Turn on some fun music, listen to your favorite podcast and get busy!