Thursday, February 5, 2015

Office/Spare Room Organization - Important Papers

The home office, whether it is a whole room or a portable file box, houses important papers. What do you need to organize important papers? And how should they be organized?

Very important papers should be stored in a safety deposit box or a fireproof safe. They include: birth and death certificates, marriage license, social security cards, divorce papers, tax papers, and insurance contracts. Small home safes do not have to be expensive to protect these documents, but make sure it is one that is rated fire and burglary proof. One that is waterproof is a bonus, and should be marked as "verified." 
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Paid bills, school records, investment reports, warranties, manuals, etc., need to be easily accessible, so use a filing cabinet or box, according to your needs. The way files are organized should be the same, though. Most people buy folders with three-to-five tabs across the top and then alternate them. The problem with this method comes when a new folder needs to be inserted between two existing ones - the tabs will not be a nice pattern anymore, and the tabs become difficult to read.

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A better way to file is for the tabs to align. Now, you can still use three-to-five tab folders, but the tabs should align by category. If you want to use multi-position tabs, I recommend something like: Bills folder tabs can align down the left-hand side; Medical folder tabs can align down the center; and Money folder tabs can be on the right-hand side. Used this way, new folders can be added within a type of file without disrupting the pattern.
If you are using hanging files, I recommend using different colors for different categories to make it easier to locate documents. For example, green for money-related, red for medical-related, and blue for bills. The plastic file tabs should be aligned down the front, left-hand side of the files.  

I hope this helps you keep your files neatly organized. Questions or comments are appreciated.