By Organising Guru – Sharne Kuper
I thought by now we were meant to be living in a paperless society however if my filing system is anything to go by it seems I missed that boat and I am guessing most of you did too!
So much for the paperless society we were promised. I find that I still have large volumes of paperwork to manage.
While we can do some practical things to minimise paperwork , such as requesting online statements, we cannot avoid it altogether.
In this post, I will help you plan an efficient paperwork system . The key to knowing you have your paperwork under control is if you are able to find a document in less than 5 minutes, your bills are paid on time (with no late fees!) and there is no pile of papers lurking on one or more surfaces in your home.
The first step in establishing a paperwork system is to work out where you are going to keep these papers. They should be easy to access so if you need to find something you can. It is okay to store old tax returns in a hidden away spot but the everyday papers need to be close at hand.
You also need to decide what you are going to use to store these papers. You may have an upright filing cabinet with suspension files or a file box with suspension files. These are both good options. I do not like concertina files. They are very awkward to open and find what you are looking for, especially when the file becomes fuller.
The goal is a system that is easy to use and has the space to add new files without getting over crowded. If it is going to be hard to file your paperwork, it is less likely you are going to do it. So the easier the system the better!
The last step in setting up your system is to establish the file categories. While everybody may have slightly different requirements, essentially we all need the following categories:
Bank – credit card statements / home loan statements / account statements (a separate file for each different account)
Mortgage or lease agreements
Tax – current year / immediate past year (older returns can be kept in a different location)
Utilities – electricity / water / gas
Phone – land line / mobile
Insurance Policies – home / car / health
Car records – insurance / registration
Health / Medical– one for each member of the family
Educational – one for each member of the family. For any children in the family this is where I keep school reports and certificates that they receive each year for school, sport and swimming.
Copies of Wills / Power of Attorney
Birth / Marriage certificates
In the next instalment of ‘Taming the Paper Clutter’, I will tell you how to handle the papers when they come into your home and give you some tips for tackling the mess of any lingering paper clutter.
Image credit: www.care2.com
Mobile 0418 164 708
“Sharne is a Sydney based Professional Organiser. After spending most of her career in fashion she has found her calling in helping people reclaim their space and simplify their lives. “I love doing what I do and seeing what a difference it can make in peoples lives is very rewarding”