Lets get you set up to maintain your filing system!
Now that you’ve got your filing system set up and your action items in their proper places, it’s up to you to keep it that way! The best way to keep clutter from coming back is to maintain your filing system. Some tips on maintaining your filing system:
- If you have temporary files, file them by month and year, which allows for quick archiving.
- Purge your files regularly—I recommend at least annually. You could do it every six months or every quarter to cut down on the time it takes to purge.
- File at least weekly, more often if you are a paper-intensive home. Ideally it’s best to file things as soon as possible, but setting aside time each week that’s dedicated to filing will make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
A lot of clients have tons of paperwork because they’re not sure how long they’re supposed to keep it. So how do you know what to hang on to, and what to shred? Different documents have different expiration dates.
Lifetime: Keep this paperwork for the life of the item. Ownership documents like car titles and deeds belong in this category. Once you no longer have the item, and are sure you won’t need to refer to the paperwork, then you can let it go.
Permanent: These things should be kept forever, like your social security card. Things that are crucial and difficult to replace go in this category.
Temporary: Keep this paperwork according to their document retention guidelines, like supporting tax documents, medical records, and receipts. Consult the IRS, DMV, your insurance company, your CPA, and lawyers for the most accurate information on document retention.
You can use our guide as a starting point, but please consult your professionals to confirm the specifics for your situation.
Using these maintenance strategies will help keep your paperwork to a minimum, so you can find what you need when you need it.
For more information, download our Residential Records Retention Guidelines by clicking the picture on the left!