<b>Organize Documents to Save Your Family Time and Avoid Confusion</b> <br><br> If you’re surrounded by a flurry of important family paperwork like birth certificates, wills and insurance policies, creating a document storage system is the key to keeping them organized. Many people begin to organize documents only to find themselves confused about what to keep, what to discard and which method of organization can keep them on track. With these five helpful steps, you can make sense of important paperwork and create a system that will work for you and your family. <br><br> <b>1. Put one person in charge</b> <br><br> When it comes to organization, putting one person in charge is the ticket to success. This doesn’t mean one person has to do all of the work, but whoever steps up to the plate should be responsible for delegating tasks, making sure the document storage system gets used and ensuring everyone knows how it works. This will help keep files in order and ensure nearly everything stays in place. <br><br> <b>2. Create separate file folder solutions for active and permanent files</b> <br><br> To maintain your organized documents, separate files your family will need to access frequently (active files) from the ones that will only be needed in the event of an emergency or major life event (permanent files). <br><br> <b>Active files</b> <br><br> Active files can be stored using <a href=" http://www.officemax.com/office-supplies/file-folders-accessories/file-folders/manila-file-folders" target="_blank">manila file folders</a> and a filing cabinet. Place these <a href=" http://www.officemax.com/office-furniture/file-cabinets-accessories " target="_blank">file cabinets</a> in a centralized location—typically the kitchen or home office. Active files include: <br><br> - Employment information <br><br> - School paperwork <br><br> - Bank statements <br><br> - Annual tax documentation <br><br> - Receipts <br><br> - Cancelled checks <br><br> - Home improvement records <br><br> - Paid and unpaid bills <br><br> - Insurance information (home, auto and health) <br><br> - Warranty information and receipts for items under warranty <br><br> <b>Permanent files</b> <br><br> Permanent files should be stored inside a fire safe in a secure location. Include documents that would be difficult or costly to replace and would need to be easily found in the event of an emergency A fireproof safe with a lock will help protect these important documents in the event of fire or burglary. Permanent files include: <br><br> - Birth certificates <br><br> - Social security numbers <br><br> - Wedding certificates <br><br> - Proof of ownership documentation (including home, automobile, vacation properties and copyrights) <br><br> - Legal papers and contracts (wills, divorce paperwork, custody agreements, adoption paperwork, proof of citizenship and durable powers of attorney) <br><br> - Passports <br><br> - Long-term investments (stocks, bonds and savings certificates) <br><br> <b>3. Designate file folders to organize documents you want to keep</b> <br><br> If a document doesn’t get put away in a designated manila file folder, you might be more inclined to lose it in the shuffle. To keep track of these miscellaneous papers, first, sort through your incoming mail and any stacks of paper in your home. Make and label file folders for everything you want to keep, even if you end up with a couple of file folders with very few documents in them. It’s better to have a lightly used folder than to lose something important. <br><br> <b>4. Archive files annually</b> <br><br> Sort through your file folders once a year and transfer old paperwork into an archive file system or file cabinets. This helps free up space and keeps current documents simple to find. Or, choose file boxes for a portable, organized system that’ll help you store and transport archived documents. <br><br> <b>5. Be open to upgrading your document storage system</b> <br><br> It can be challenging to create a flawless document storage system on your first try. If you want to create a system that’ll work for the long haul, feel free to modify it as needed. The ideal system should be helpful—not frustrating. So, use what works what works for you and fix what doesn’t. <br><br> With a little time and a flexible, organized system, your family will be able to quickly find important information and eliminate paper clutter for good.
Use File Folders and a Fire Safe to Protect Important Family