Organising your office or, household admin is never the most interesting task to do but is necessary to avoid losing time or even money.
- How much time do you spend looking for a key piece of paper, envelope, bill?
- How often have you missed the deadline for a payment or replying to an invitation?
- Have you ever overpaid for something purely because you’ve forgotten the renewal date?
If any of the above sounds familiar then you need to start to organise your paperwork-life, it doesn’t take long (even if you have a house rather than a desk-full) as you do not need to hold on to as much as you think you might.
I purchased a new file from Paperchase which holds all the important documents and is not a huge file so doesn’t take up a lot of room and you can add additional tabs if required. The standard labels are for the most obvious things but, everyone is different and has varying needs.
It is tempting to keep every piece of paper which looks vaguely important or has account details on or you feel you may need it ‘just in case’ but you definitely don’t. There are certain dates you need certain copies of paperwork for (personally, look here for HMRC) and in business it is 5 years after the tax year – most companies recommend 7 years to be sure.
Most things can now be kept digitally with online accounts – electricity, gas, however, it would be wise to always keep backups so I would recommend always keeping your most current copies of any bills in case of errors – need I comment here about checking each of them through thoroughly, mistakes are made! So, why not make a start today…..
- Find a space, a big space! Dining room table, kitchen worktop, living room floor
- Have a diary or calendar to hand, the one you use the most phone or old-school paper
- Get everything out! All the paperwork, unopened post, files you may already have
- Start some piles, work, personal, house, sentimental and have a bin at the end
- Go through methodically, throwing away any rubbish – empty envelopes etc – yes it sounds obvious but there is no need to keep rubbish
- Divide into your chosen piles, only keeping the most recent 2 personal bills after checking them and last year of household bills
- Make a note of dates for insurance renewals, contract dates with a reminder 2 weeks before to review and obtain quotes
- Once the big pile to sort has been sorted, start labelling and putting away into suitable folders
- Find a place to store the folders, where you can update and access as required, everyone is different – kitchen cupboards, office, under seat storage….you choose!
Now you have everything in place, keep on top of the pieces of paper. As post arrives, open it, deal with it and remember to check your reminders to keep on top of your paperwork. Then, you will always know where that piece of paper you were looking for is.
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