How to Organize Your Files

How to Organize Your Files

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Today's post is by guest blogger Molly Gold, organization expert and president of Go Mom!® Inc.


It's National Organize Your Files Week, which means it's the perfect time to gather the important documents in your home and get them in order. When you identify which papers are important and develop a system to sort and store them, you'll always be able to find them immediately when they're needed. Here are my tips to help you identify and store important documents so you'll never waste time looking for them again.


What are Important Papers?

Important papers are comprised of legal documents and any vital record you may need to reference in the future. A sampling includes wills, vehicle titles, passports, birth certificates, health records, social security cards, copies of insurance policies, tax records, credit card account numbers, and warranty documents. These important files need to be stored in a location that is both accessible and safe.


How to Organize Important Papers


1. Sort by Category.

Before storing your important household records, get them organized. Gather your files and sort them into categories. Create separate piles for each so you can group like items together, e.g., all family members' passports, or all records related to the family cars.


2. Place in Folders.

For important papers, I like to use a file folder with gusseted sides so nothing falls out when I handle them. I'm also a fan of using clear page covers to hold original copies so they don't become damaged. Similar documents that I refer to often (such as health information and insurance policies) are placed in a binder, making it easy to retrieve the entire collection all at once.


3. Label and Color Code.

Label your documents first and then put them in color coded binders. For example, put all auto-related documents in a blue binder with labels for each individual file inside. Put your most important documents (birth certificate, social security cards, etc.) in a red binder. Labeling and color coding helps you quickly identify what is in each binder and creates an organizing system that's easy to stick with in the future.


How to Store Important Papers

Deciding how and where to store your documents is just as important as sorting them. For documents that need to be truly secure, consider purchasing a home safe or lease a safety deposit box at your local bank.  For papers that can be stored at home without concern, use a file drawer with easy access in your home office, or create a kitchen communication center where important, often-used documents can be stored within easy reach.


Invest in your family by making time to organize your important papers. You'll be amazed at how great it feels to know the documents that matter most are safe, secure, and easy to find when you need them.


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