Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Filing and Paperwork

I got all my filing done and reorganized my office closet. I do this every year at in Jan. so that I can start off the year with organized files.

This year I really wanted to simplify my files. I'm from a generation that is use to things on paper and I tend to want a hard copy of everything, so I've had to gradually wean myself from keeping all that paper. I've looked up lists of what to keep and how long. Each list is a little different so I had to really decide for myself what to let go of and what I really didn't need to keep.

I have a 2 draw file cabinet that I keep most of my files in. I also have some large plastic file boxes for my old records that I feel I need to keep. The file boxes are in my office closet. The top draw of my file cabinet is for current year paperwork. I can easily find what I need that way without having to look through a large file of paper. Every year at this time I clear it out so that it is ready for the new year. I throw away some of it and the rest goes into the bottom draw where I keep things for 3 years or so. I go through this draw when it gets too full, usually not every year. So after that 3 years I can toss a lot of it. What is left goes into the long term storage or old (permanent) file boxes. This is mostly financial and some medical records.

I have a separate filing crate for my tax files. After my tax return has been filed I keep the copy and the receipts in here. After 7 years the receipts get thrown out unless they need to be kept and the return itself goes to the back of the file. I use to throw these out until I read you should keep them forever oops.

I remember the days of having large file cabinets and trying to keep info. on subjects I was interested in. That was before the Internet. It was very cumbersome and I gave up after a while. Now I use the binder system for mostly print outs, but I rarely ever read this stuff so I'm thinking if I'm wanting to simplify maybe I should get rid of these. It would free up a lot of space. The rule if you haven't used it for a year seems like a good one. There are always exceptions to the rule, but it sounds like a good measure of what is really useful.


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