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Organizing Documents

Organizing documents, while a fairly easy task, is something that will take some time. So before beginning, be sure that you set aside enough time to be able to properly do the job. Follow these simple step-by-step instructions and you will have no problems being able to bring your rampaging documents under control once again.

  1. Gather. Begin organizing by gathering together all documents, papers, and letters that you may need organized into one location. It will be much easier, after all, to organize your documents if they are all in one room where you have them readily at hand. Once you have your documentation together, get a trash can or a few trash bags so that you can discard any paperwork that you no longer need.
  2. Separate. Go through all of your documents and separate them into distinct piles and groupings for later filing. For business documents, it is good to keep things like tax filings separate from monthly bills, payroll, and so on. Family documentation can be separated into different piles according to person and importance of the documentation. An example of this would be to have all your birth certificates in one pile, passports in another, and letters that you wish to keep in another. While these are just suggestions, the best way to separate the paperwork is to use whatever method makes the most sense to you.
  3. Discard. As you go through your documents pay special attention to what may be extraneous or unneeded. Anything that you do not need should be thrown away. If you have one on hand you should use a shredder to properly dispose of any sensitive information, like tax returns that are older than seven years or expired driver's licenses.
  4. System. It is time to actually begin implementing your system. There are all kinds of different filing systems that you can choose from. One of the things that you absolutely need to have is a filing cabinet so that you store your documents. Some examples of systems that you can use to organize your documents would be to sort everything alphabetically by subject, or by person, or even chronologically. One strong recommendation is to store all vital documents (such as birth certificates, deeds, or passports) in a fireproof safe or lockbox.
  5. Maintain. Once you have start your organization system, you need to maintain it. If you do not, then you will find yourself having to repeat the process again in a few months.

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Comments for this tip:

Sharon    02 Apr 2015, 13:44
What I would REALLY like a an example list of digital files that I should set up. I have a scanner but don't know what to do with the scanned documents. I was told to set them up just like I did my paper files--the problem is I didn't have a paper system.

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