Chapter 4 Organizing Documents. Today’s Objectives : Students will be able to: 1 . Organize Important Documents 2. Apply methods for Organizing Important Documents 3. Know How Long Should I Keep Important Documents? 4. Storing Important Documents .
Today’s Objectives: Students will be able to: 1. Organize Important Documents 2. Apply methods for Organizing Important Documents 3. Know How Long Should I Keep Important Documents? 4. Storing Important Documents
You probably have a stack of documents that you know you should keep, but you may have no clue where to put them. Is that pile on your desk labeled "important" an appropriate option? Or should that stack go in that old shoebox under the bed? Storing important paperwork can be a challenge, but getting organized can save you time, eliminate clutter and give you peace of mind
Getting organized is essential. If something came up and you needed to review a credit card statement from two months ago, would you know where to find it? Can you quickly gain access to your birth certificate and social security card? If the answer is no, then it may be time to do some organizing. Putting your important documents in order is not just a matter of aesthetics. If a fire or flood were to strike, knowing exactly how to access your family's important papers could save you a lot of hassle -- just think of the time and effort it would take to replace them.
Methods for Organizing Important Documents First, you need to gather everything you have and sort it into a few different piles: 1- important document, like :birth certificates and social security cards 2- moderately important, like:family photos, transcripts, school diplomas and investment statements. 3- trash
How Long Should I Keep Important Documents? You don't need to keep everything forever. In fact, many of the documents you think you need to keep can make their way to the trash pile. Here are a few guidelines that can help you decide what to keep and for how long:
Bank statements - If you don't have online access to your account, keep your bank statements for three years [source: BBT]. You may want to consider going green and signing up for paperless statements. Doing so can help you eliminate clutter and have all your bank statements available at the click of a mouse.
Tax returns - How long you keep tax-related documents depends on what type of activity the statements show. As a general rule, keep these documents for seven years [source: IRS].
Credit card statements- After checking the accuracy of your statements, shred them. If your statement has any identifying information whatsoever it needs to be properly disposed of to minimize the risk of identity theft [source: Money Management International]. However, if you've made a large purchase or haven't yet received a purchased item, make sure you have a copy of your statement in case you need to dispute the purchase. Your credit card records can prove you paid.
Storing Important Documents There are many methods for organizing your important documents. There's the low-tech approach, which utilizes file cabinets and file folders, and then there's the high-tech approach, which utilizes online or digital storage. You can use whichever method works best for you, including a combination of both low and high tech.
Documents like birth, death and marriage certificates and social security cards, immunization records and passports are all very important and should be kept in a secure location. A safe deposit box or home safe will do the trick. If you go with the home safe option, make sure your safe is waterproof and fireproof [source: NOLO]. It should also be fairly easy to move, so lock boxes can be a good alternative
Digital and online storage options are convenient, easy to use and provide easy access to your documents. Digital storage of photos is an excellent way to keep your treasured family photos safe while providing you with an easy way to share them with friends and family. Web sites like flickr.com and photobucket.com are free and allow you to store your photos and decide who can view them.
Now that you know where you can store your important documents, another thing to consider is where not to store them. A big mistake some people make is carrying their important documents in a wallet or purse. This is a big no-no. Carrying a social security card or birth certificate around with you significantly increases the risk that it will be lost or stolen