1. As they say, knowledge is power. You need to know which documents to keep and for how long so you can start making informed decisions. So the first and most important step is to print out Suze Orman’s Personal Document Retention Guidelines. I love Suze… she’s a wealth of financial information in easy to understand terms.
2. Next, gather your supplies:
- hanging folders and/or manilla folders in which to organize the paperwork you want/need to keep
3 bags or boxes (to start) in which to sort the paperwork you no longer need into the following categories:
3. Once you have the guidelines and supplies handy, you can now start going through your piles. Keep those documents Suze recommends and get rid of the rest that you no longer need/want. Try to handle each piece of paper only once. I strongly creating a “Take Action” folder for those items are things you need to do something about (and not file away). And if you’re not sure what to do about something, create a “Ask My Accountant” folder and accumulate those questions until the end. Depending how much paperwork you have, this step can take hours or even days but it’s well worth your investment of time.
4. Once you’ve gone through all your paper and you’ve determined which documents you’re keeping, it’s time to organize them in a system that works best for you. There’s no right or wrong way as long as it woks well for you.
5. Last but not least, commit to a regular schedule to handle all incoming paperwork.. whether daily or weekly. The secret is to no let it accumulate too long otherwise you’ll end up in the same mess you started with.
Hopefully, you’ve found these tips helpful. While they may seem second nature to some, to many they are not. I truly believe Suze’s Document Retention Guidelines will help you make the decisions you haven’t been able to.
“Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions” – Barbara Hemphill
Brenda Tringali, Organizing, Productivity & HR Specialist
At Your Fingertips Organizing
Serving Greater Myrtle Beach, SC or “virtually” anywhere (via phone/video)
Brenda Tringali is the owner of At Your Fingertips Organizing. She provides Life/Workplace/Residential Organizing & Productivity services to clients in the Myrtle Beach, SC area & “virtually” anywhere via video, phone, etc. Drawing from her 30 years of Human Resources/Staffing experience, she also helps clients with HR/Staffing/Job Search needs as well. Brenda is an active member of NAPO (National Association of Productivity and Organizing professionals). She is also Chair of the NAPOCares Committee which highlights the community outreach efforts of NAPO members, NAPO Chapters, and NAPO Business Partners as they reach out to share the three “T’s” of Social Responsibility: their Time, Treasures, and Talents.