Even in today’s digital world, many people still struggle with the overwhelming task of managing paperwork. Papers continue to flood our spaces and the challenge of controlling them vary depending on whether you have a designated work space in your home or utilize a mobile file cart as your desk. Implementing a specific system for organizing these papers is a necessity, but can be daunting, even for this NYC Professional Organizer.
The first question you need to ask yourself when determining which paper filing tips will best help you reach your goals is where you want to keep your important files. If you have a large amount of papers to store, and little space to store them in, you may consider an off-site storage facility. There’s a bit of an investment related to this option, but these facilities will do everything from catalog and retrieve files to destroy records, upon your direction. By storing off-site, you can be ensured your paper archive is safe. If you like the security these options provide, but don’t have a large amount of files, and don’t need the additional services, a secured cabinet or file box could be your best solution.
If you need, or prefer to keep all of your records close at hand, you’ll need to determine the best storage solution for yourself. Will a simple file cabinet provide the protection and security your important files require? Perhaps you can utilize a fireproof/waterproof safe in your workspace for the most essential documents?
* NYC Professional Organizer Bonus Tip 1 – Keep back-up copies of these original records on your computer by scanning them in and digitally filing them. Be sure that your computer files are backed up offsite on a regular frequency. Set up your digital files to be password protected, so even if your computer were to get in the wrong hands, your documents will still be secure.
Each of us has unique needs in regards to our paperwork management, and we each should take a moment to get a good grasp on what records are most important to retain from a legal and financial standpoint. For a great reference of what to keep from a personal/household standpoint, check out this article on USA.gov for information on what you should keep as an active file, what should be stored, and what can be destroyed and tossed, and even recommended timelines.
* NYC Professional Organizer Bonus Tip 2 – Always check with your attorney and/or accountant for their specific directions regarding the length of time for retaining paperwork.
No matter your needs and preferences when it comes to organizing and managing your important papers, one key tip we all need to keep in mind is what to do with papers and files when we first get them. Ideally you’d be able to determine the location for each piece of paper upon receipt, however, in reality, this isn’t always possible. So, the best thing to do with any new papers that need to be kept is to place them in a to-file folder. Then, spend as little as 15 minutes per week cleaning out this file, and determining where everything should go – in your active files, in your reference files, in your archive files or in the shredder. Ask yourself these questions as you clean out your to-file folder, and quickly funnel the papers to the appropriate location. By streamlining your storage solutions, implementing these paper filing tips, and sticking with them, you’ll be able to quickly dig yourself out from under any pile of paperwork!P