Keeping Your Household Records in Order
Every household should have a good system in place to manage important documents. Organizing now could save hours of anxious searching later. Here are some tips to help you get that stack of papers in order.
Divide and conquer
Sort your documents into 3 categories: active, dead storage, and discard. Active documents are accounts you deal with on a regular basis like your electric bill or your car payment. Dead storage items are similar, except they are more than 3 years old. They might include the set-up instructions for the computer you still have or the receipt for a large purchase you made years ago. The discard pile is where you put the items you no longer need such as expired warranties or old appliance manuals.
Keep the active documents handy, put the dead storage items somewhere that’s out of the way but still accessible, and throw away the rest.
Once you’ve gotten your papers in order, you might want to consider getting a safe deposit box for vital documents such as births certificates, social security cards and the deeds and titles to your property. These are documents you’ll want to keep forever.
A good rule of thumb is to keep the documents as long as you own the property they’re associated with. For example, if you still own the car, you’ll still want to keep the papers that go with it.
Keeping your files straight doesn’t have to be difficult. With a good system in place, you can keep your desk clutter-free and lay hands on that important paper you need in no time.