how to get your paperwork in order step 3: sorting

Step #3. Sort Into Current, Reference, Archive

Here are some examples of what falls into each category and a few more reasons to keep/toss…

1. CURRENT – papers accessed often

  • MONTHLY HOUSEHOLD BILLS: unless you’re writing things off, only keep the past month or get online/paperless bills (go to their website to register for this) so you can check your previous payment has been applied properly and there are no other mistakes.
  • RECEIPTS: keep debit and credit card receipts to check against statements; recent purchases in case you want to return; for warranty purposes; anything for tax and/or insurance purposes.
  • MONTHLY BANK AND CREDIT CARD STATEMENTS: check against your receipts for mistakes and/or fraudulent charges, then shred any receipts you don’t need to keep and either file away the statements (if needed for tax purposes) or shred accordingly. Get online/paperless statements especially if you don’t need to keep for tax purposes.
2. REFERENCE– papers accessed somewhat often
  • INSPIRATION: home, travel, fashion…
  • MANUALS: make sure you only keeping manuals for things you actually have.
  • LEGAL: passports, social security card, titles, ect
3. ARCHIVE– papers that need to be kept but not accessed often, or at all
  • PAST YEARS TAXES: some use the previous year’s taxes but the rest can be boxed and put away.
  • LEGAL: anything that’s settled and most likely not needed to be accessed.

2 responses

  1. Would you separate Current, Reference, and Archive items into three separate filing systems or incorporate them into one box/accordian folder?

  2. i would keep the archive separate. as for the current and reference, it depends on how much you have and what you use it all for. for instance, i have my personal and business bills together in an accordion file in my kitchen cabinet and my reference (which for me are inspirational photos, vendors names, and product catalogs) in boxes on my bookcase.