Papers Papers Everywhere!!!
Since most people have trouble managing their paper clutter they find inventive ways to handle it. Home filing systems, at least the ones that do exist, come in all shapes, makes and models!
A lot of people use their desk drawers to stuff papers in randomly. I have seen people with filing cabinets full of paperwork in no particular order. Shoe boxes are a regular joke among tax preparers. Their worst nightmare is to have the “typical” shoebox client. The client will walk in with the box full of receipts, notices, etc. They have no idea what is in the box but they have collected everything in it for the past year. Then they want the tax preparer to straighten it out.
Then there are the people that keep different things in different places. The birth certificates are in the family bible. The marriage license is in a box with the wedding memories. The insurance papers are in the car, boat, or what have you. I even had one person tell me that they kept their warranty information in the bottom drawer of the china cabinet! Basically they have no home filing system but they have lots of paper clutter.
First, these people would never be able to find anything on short notice. In cases of emergency, they would be digging through the paper clutter for the information they need.
Second, if someone else had to handle the information, because of death, an accident or illness, then they have left a real mess for that person to deal with all that paper clutter.
So where are your papers?
Do you have a funny story you can tell us about where you find (or hide) your paper clutter? Share it with us, we all do it!
Our next step in your home filing system quest is to find everything. Dig it all out and locate it in one place. Sometimes the easiest thing to do to start your document organizer is to get a box. Dump everything in one big box. All the paper clutter from all over the house in one place. Don’t worry; we will sort it out later.
If you also looking to do a complete inventory of your personal possessions, read the section on this website titled "Everything I Own." This lays out a method and system to take a personal home inventory. This is very important to document everything you own.
Not sure what to look for? There is an endless variety of paper clutter that you could have. You may have everything from your birth certificate to checking account information, from immigration papers to confirmation records. At this step you just want to gather EVERYTHING in one place. We will sort it and go through and decide what to keep in another step. At this point, just gather it all.
Here is a list of home filing records that you can download to get you started. This list is in PDF format so be sure you have a copy of Adobe reader in order to open it up.
And for those that are lost………If you don’t have all the papers you should have, you need to take the time to get them now.
Organizing your documents can get a little tedious. There is no reason to make it more difficult by not having what you need.
Spend a few moments doing some leg work and get everything you will need to have a complete document organizer.
Not sure how to get something? Don’t know where to look for your paperwork? Documents can be tracked down and recovered. Here is a list of websites and suggestions to help you get your personal record keeping complete.
If you have not had a good file organizer before now, I can almost guarantee that something is lost. Make sure you get all the paperwork you will need, and do it now.
At the end of this step you should have a big pile of all your documents. Next we will start to make some sense of it.