Thursday, July 28, 2011

File, Don't Pile

Senior Thursday

Papers can be daunting. They come into the home from many different sources--mail, doctor visits, work, etc.. There are papers for your house, your health, your finances and your family. But where to keep them all? Many times, out of frustration, we just drop them on the nearest pile.

What happens when you need that piece of paper, though? Where is it? What pile did you put it on?

If you set up a functional filing system, you'll be able to find what you need when you need it. Here are some tips for setting up a filing system.

• Store away what you don’t use--This is anything that you need to keep, but don't need to access. Old tax returns, supporting tax documents, old receipts, and memorabilia fall into this category
• Use labels that work for you. What words would you think of when looking for it again? Would your spouse use the same description? Use something you'll remember.
• Limit the description on the label. The fewer words you use, the easier it will be to remember and read. A noun, adjective and year is often sufficient.
• Color code your folders or labels. You can categorize them by person, subject , or year. Use what is comfortable for you.
• If you are intimidated by the task of setting up a system, use a pre-packaged system, such as Freedom Filer, that comes with stock labels and an index guide. These are easy to use, and the index helps you locate items easily.
• Schedule time for filing. In order for the filing system to work for you, you have to keep on top of it. Schedule time every day or week for doing your filing. Purge your files every six to twelve months to keep them from getting too big.

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