Filing Systems Rule The World!

Filing Systems Rule The World!

 This post originally appeared on our sister site Help-Organize-Life.com.  

Okay, not really but they are important. Filing systems are the heartbeat of taming your paper clutter. You don’t need an extravagant system in order to file away your important papers. Anything can be used to start a system. Below are a few of my favorites that I use with my clients. (In no particular order!)

1. Freedom Filer

I have just started to implement this filing system for my personal files. I was turned onto it by another organizer who uses it with all of her clients. I was curious so I bought the deluxe kit and haven’t looked back. I really like that the tabs and labels are already made up for you which we all know is the hardest thing when it’s time to file. All you have to provide are the manilla folders and hanging folders.

This system can be set up in a regular filing cabinet, a file drawer, desktop file or a crate. It comes with helpful cards to let you know the retention period for the items that you are filing.

I also get email reminders to change out my folders and to purge. To learn more about this amazing filing system click the link below.

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This system is perfect for those who like to file the old fashion way and don’t necessarily want a computer based system. This system is totally expandable for whatever your needs are.

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2. Paper Tiger

I personally use this program in my home office and my personal files too. I find it to be a great organizing tool for people who don’t like to file because of having to alphabetize or make new file folders with names.

I have used this system with my clients who have ADD/ADHD. It works great for them because they can file according to number and use the keyword feature to name the file inside the numbers whatever they like. Because of the option of using it on your computer or printing out the file index, filing for anyone who just doesn’t have time has become a whole lot easier.

Paper Tiger can be used to organize just about anything from books to CDs and whatever you might want. Using the numbering system, you can set up files for each project if you wish. The possibilities are endless.

Find anything in your office in 5 SECONDS or less – Guaranteed!

Now they have an online option that links up with Google Docs!

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3. Home File

This is a really neat system. My mother uses this system because she is chronically disorganized and she likes how simple it is to use. The Home File system uses printed divider cards that can be used with hanging file folders and manila folders. Categories are printed right on the divider with instructions for what to file and what not to file in this category. It also tells you how long to retain the information that you file away. Genius! This is great for financial filing and home filing. Filing2

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(Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. You are not obligated to buy anything. However if you choose to purchase anything from my affiliate links I am truly grateful and I am able to provide you more free content like what is on this site.)

 This post originally appeared on our sister site Help-Organize-Life.com.  
Help! My Mail Is Taking Over My Home

Help! My Mail Is Taking Over My Home

Mail is the biggest offender when it comes to managing paperwork. The more family members and interests, the more mail. Catalogs, junk mail, bills, and correspondences you actually want bombard your mailbox daily.
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As an organizer I see a lot of pile ups. Most people just get so much that they feel overwhelmed with it all. One of the most asked questions from prospective clients is “how can I handle my mail?”

Even in my house it is a problem at times. When it becomes a problem for me I have to rely on some tried and true solutions for this. I want to share with you what I use and what I recommend to my clients. Use one tip or try a combination of all. The key is to find what works for you and your family.

mail2Solution 1 – Put a trash can at the door and a shredder.

I used to tell my clients to have just a trash can at the door or wherever you open mail. But with the recent rash of identity theft I now recommend that you have a shredder. Shredders don’t cost very much, but are worth it’s weight in gold when it comes to protecting you. I like the cross-cut shredders. You can choose from heavy duty to desktop. It is totally up to you.

Solution 2 – Disignate a place for dealing with mail.

If you don’t have a place to open mail, then everywhere becomes a place. This is not a good plan. By designating a place to open mail, you can always count on having all of your mail in one place and setting up a routine. Wherever you choose to set up your mail station make sure that you stick with it. Keep it consistent. Make sure that the whole family knows that this is the place for mail.

Solution 3 – Have your supplies.

Supplies for your designated mail center would include pens, pencils, envelopes, stamps, trash can, shredder, stationary and action folders. Baskets will help keep everything tidy.

 

Suggested products to help you organize your mail:

All of these great products will help you to stay on top of organizing your mail and keeping it in one place.

Wall Mail Organizer 

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Mail and Junk Organizer

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Literature Sorter

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This sorter is great for visual people. Use it for mail or for projects. I use mine to sort projects and receipts.

Magazine Organizers are also a great way to keep current issues of your magazines. The key word is “Current”!

 

 

 This post originally appeared on our sister site Help-Organize-Life.com.  
Using A Record Retention Schedule To Keep Paperwork Organized

Using A Record Retention Schedule To Keep Paperwork Organized

How can a record retention schedule help you?

The complaint that I hear the most often when dealing with paperwork is “I don’t know how long to keep anything!” That is where a record retention schedule comes in handy. A schedule can help you purge through your files and paperwork in no time.

Use the retention schedule below when you are figuring what to keep and what to toss. The chart below is a guideline only, please consult with your tax accountant and/or attorney about your paticular situation.
FILE TYPE/ RETENTION PERIOD – General

Accident reports/claims (settled cases) – 7 years

Accounts payable ledgers and schedules – 7 years

Accounts receivable ledgers and schedules – 7 years

Audit reports – Permanently

Bank reconciliations – 2 years

Bank statements – 3 years

Capital stock and bond records, stubs showing issues record of interest coupons, options, etc. – Permanently

Cash books – Permanently

Charts of accounts – Permanently

Checks (cancelled – see exception) – 7 years

Checks (cancelled – important payments such as taxes, property purchases, special contracts) – Permanently

Contracts (mortgage, notes, leases still in effect) – 7 years

Correspondence (general) – 2 years

Correspondence (legal and important matters only)- Permanently

Correspondence (customers and/or vendors)- 2 years

Deeds, mortgages, bills of sale – Permanently

Depreciation schedules – Permanently

Duplicate deposit slips – 2 years

Employment application – 3 years

Expense analysis/expense distribution schedules – 7 years

Financial statements (year-end) – Permanently

Garnishments – 7 years

General private ledgers, year-end trial balance – Permanently

Insurance policies (expired) – 3 years

Insurance records,accident reports,claims,policies -Permanently

Internal reports (audits) – 3 years

Internal reports (misc.) – 3 years

Inventories or products, materials, supplies – 7 years

Invoices – 7 years

Journals – Permanently

Magnetic tape and tab cards – 1 year

Minute books of directors, stockholders, by-laws, charter- Permanently

Notes receivable ledgers and schedules – 7 years

Option records (expired) – 7 years

Patents and related papers – Permanently

Payroll records and summaries – 7 years

Personnel files (terminated) – 7 years

Petty cash vouchers – 3 years

Physical inventory tags – 3 years

Plant cost ledgers – 7 years

Property appraisals – Permanently

Property records (costs, depreciation reserves, year-end trial balances, depreciation schedules, blueprints, plans)- Permanently

Purchase orders (purchasing dept) – 7 years

Purchase orders (other) – 1 year

Receiving sheets – 1 year

Retirement and pension plans – Permanently

Requisitions – 1 year

Sales commission reports – 3 years

Sales records – 7 years

Scrap and salvage records (inventories, sales, etc) – 7 years

Stenographers notebooks – 1 year

Stock and bond certificate (canceled) – 7 years

Stockroom withdrawal forms – 1 year

Susidiary ledgers – 7 years

Tax returns, worksheets, revenue agents’ reports -Permanently

Time books/cards – 7 years

Trademark registrations and copyrights – Permanently

Training manuals – Permanently

Union agreements – Permanently

Voucher register and schedules – 7 years

Vouchers for payments to vendors, employees (for travel and entertainment expenses) – 7 years

Withholding tax statements – 7 years

This is just a brief listing of records and how long to keep them. Although most pertain to business you can use some of the guidelines for home filing as well. Example: Bank Statements. Here are some other resources for file retention guidelines. As always be sure to discuss with your attorney or tax consultant.

Better Business Bureau

 

 This post originally appeared on our sister site Help-Organize-Life.com.