First, decide which household papers need to be kept and which need to be tossed. Consider tossing grocery, fast food and auto gas receipts, right away.
Second, create a standing file with folders for each family member to hold papers that may need to be referred to during the next month or longer, such as details about an upcoming school event or project.
Third, include a file folder with the following subject labels: to read, to file, bills to pay. Sort daily mail into one of these categories and place in the file folders. Junk mail can be thrown away immediately or shredded. Keep the shredder in your home office area near the files for convenience. Shred paperwork containing personal information such as name, address, date of birth and social security numbers.
Set aside a time to address the items in your “bills to pay” file once or twice per month.
Set aside a time to empty the “to be filed” folder once or twice a month.
For long-term file storage consider a fire-proof container for insurance policies, deeds, past tax returns and documents which cannot easily be replaced.
Consider a multi-purpose storage container for other files. Place a hanging file frame inside the storage container (available at office supply stores), and label hanging files in categories of your choice.
What to keep in these files is up to you, but be sure to include hanging files for tax-deductible paperwork.
Happy New Year and let the filing begin!