Following up on last week’s post on how to check the mail, today we will be learning how to file paperwork. Most of the mail you get, you will not need to file for later; however, there are some important documents that you need to hold on to.
Filing is a tedious job, and from how many clients I see with boxes and boxes of papers that are left unfiled, it seems to be a job that just never gets completed (or started for that matter). There are a few tips and tricks to making filing a simpler and easily accomplished task.
First, buy a small letter box that is only an inch or two high. Put it in an easily accessible location. Like the top of your file cabinet or on top of your desk. One, you need to be able to toss papers in it easily, and two, you need to have it in a place that will annoy you if it gets too full.
Second, keep your files in a nice order with labels that make sense. Buy thick file folders and strong hanging folders. Here are some ideas for each folder:
Use what makes sense to you. If you always think “Car” when you think about your automobiles, then call the file “Car” instead.
Third, you don’t need to keep very many papers, really. Check with your accountant or the laws in your state, but more often than not, you don’t need to keep personal credit card statements and utility bills for longer than a month or two. Keep receipts only for as long as you can return the item. For big ticket items, keep the receipt for the life of the item. Remember to shred anything that contains personal information.
Lastly, file often. Spend ten minutes once every two weeks filing whatever is in the box. If you wait much longer than that, the job will take up too much time.