NOW is the time to go through and clean out your files!
Maybe you need to freshen up your filing system.
Maybe you need to create a filing system!
Whatever the case, paper piles can be overwhelming.
Creating and maintaining an organized filing system makes
year-end file clean up easy - saving you valuable TIME!
Another good reason to have a filing system: Save MONEY!
Many of our clients have found checks that were not deposited,
and bank accounts they had forgotten about.
One client even found his Will!
SETTING UP A FILING SYSTEM:
Start by collecting all of your papers.
Sort papers into 2 piles: Keep and Trash.
Next, sort the keepers into categories.
When choosing category/files names, think about retrieval.
When you are looking for a car repair receipt will you look under Car? Vehicle? Receipts? Don't worry, categories will reveal themselves as you go through
I also include a file for each family member.
I highly recommend using labeled hanging folders, but you can also use a file box or binder. Some categories may have subcategories. Use manila
folders for subcategories.
Label files in pencil at first, and use for a month or so, in case you want to make changes.
Then you can permanently label each file.
I also recommend arranging the file tabs in one row.
This makes it easy to add or delete files.
End of Year Filing Process:
1) Gather Supplies: stapler, post-it notes, paper clips, rubber bands, sharpie or pen, manila folders and a file box or other storage container. Use plastic if storing in a
basement, garage or attic, where water/weather damage may occur.
You will need: post-it notes, paper clips, rubber bands, a stapler and a sharpie or pen.
A file box and file folders will also come in handy.
2) Take out each file individually. As you go through the file, decide what you can toss, what you can remove for the year-end file box, and what you can keep in the file.
Files Before Purge
Go through each file individually.
3) Keep sections together with a staple, paper clip, rubber band, or place in a manila folder.
4) Label each section.
Sort through each file and take out any papers you no longer need and can archive.
5) After going through every file, you should now have your year-end files ready for storage.
Keep archive files together with a paper clip, rubber band, or file folder, and label each.
6) Bind all sections together and label by year.
7) Place in File Box. Several years may fit in one file box.
8) Don't forget to label your File Box with appropriate dates.
Put year of archive files in file box. Several years may fit in one box.
You should now have space in your file cabinet for the new year!
In this instance, 6 inches of space was gained after file papers were purged!
File Management Tips
1) Keep a "Working File" for all papers you need to file later. Sure, it's great to file each paper as you receive it. But, at least for me, this is
not realistic. I place papers I need to file in a separate folder on my desk. You could also use a basket or paper tray designated specifically for this purpose. File these in the
right place weekly.
2) Keep a "To Do" file. This would be for things like bills to pay, forms to fill out, etc. File once the task is completed.
3) Be smart - shred all personal documents before you toss them!
4) Keep your year-end files WITH that year's Tax Return.
5) Keep Vital Documents in a fireproof / waterproof box or cabinet, or a safe deposit box.
6) Maintenance is the key - find time daily, weekly or monthly to keep things filed properly. The more often you do this the less time it will
7) Work where the action is. Set up your file system in the kitchen, if that is where papers tend to accumulate. This is MUCH easier than retraining
yourself to take them to the office upstairs. The fewer steps involved - the better.
8) Go PAPERLESS! Opt for paperless statements, pay your bills online, and use a computer financial program, such as Quick Books. I also recommend
using an Online Computer Backup system like Mozy or Carbonite.
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