It is too easy for that little stack of old receipts and junk mail to grow day by day. If you don’t develop a system to properly organize important documents, paper clutter will take over spaces in your home. It may seem daunting to tackle the tower of papers, but follow these simple steps to help you properly store your important documents.
1. Gather important documents and other papers
The first step in taking control of your paper clutter is to gather all of your papers, whether important documents or junk mail. Once you have everything in one place, it is time to start separating your documents.
2. Sorting your documents
How do you determine which categories to sort your documents? Look no further, we are here to help. You will want to sort your papers into three categories. Documents that need future action, documents that are important or memorable that you want to keep and documents that will need to be tossed. After you have sorted all of your documents, you should consider scanning important documents for two reasons. One, easy accessibility of your documents. Second, this will ensure the safety of your documents in the chance they are damaged or lost.
3. Tossing your unwanted documents
Once you have completed categorizing your documents, you’ll want to discard ones that are no longer needed. If you decide to scan your important documents, this may be an opportunity to dispose of important documents. This will cut down on the amount of documents that you will store and ultimately will save you a ton of space. Now, you can’t just throw away that pile of unwanted papers and call it a day. Either invest in a shredding machine or drop off your stack of papers at any local shredding facility. This will protect you and your identity from any thieves dumpster diving. Having a shredding machine at home will allow you to regularly shred unwanted documents as you receive them instead of letting the pile grow daily.
4. Using a filing system
Some things to consider when purchasing a filing system. How many documents are you storing? Will your stack of papers grow each year? Do you have enough space in your home to store what you have decided to keep? A filing cabinet is a great choice for storing documents, but it will take up a considerable amount of storage space. One option would be to store your filing cabinet in a storage unit rather than consuming an entire closet in your home.
Now comes the fun stuff! Organize your important documents that you have decided to keep. I would recommend purchasing a filing cabinet so you have a designated area to store all of your important documents. There are a wide variety of filing cabinets to choose from, but some key components you want to consider are if they have a key lock, fireproof and the amount of storage. Most filing cabinets use hanging folders to store documents. Double check that the hanging folders you purchase are acid free! Acid free folders will prevent yellowing and protect your documents. Make a file folder for each category of document you have decided to keep. This is a key component in keeping your documents organized.
4. Storing your documents long-term
All of your documents that you have decided to keep will most likely end up being stored long-term. How do you preserve your documents so they last years and potentially a lifetime. Documents should always be stored in a cool, dark place. This ensures that your documents will not fade or be damaged from the elements. Heat and humidity can damage documents and sunlight will fade paper and ink. Using a storage unit is an ideal factor when storing important documents long-term. If you are interested in using self-storage to protect your important documents, give us a call!