Today is the first day we will be working on getting our paper clutter under control. This is an overwhelming, almost daily battle I struggle with and I know many of you feel the same way. Hopefully by finding ways to control the paper coming in, as well as creating systems for the paper we must keep, we can finally be free from piles of paper taking over our desks and counters!
In an emergency, how quickly would you be able to find important, not easily replaceable documents, such as birth certificates, automobile titles, marriage certificate, etc.? We are going to gather up all these types of papers and corral them into one easy to locate and transportable file.
First, I want you to gather up all of your important papers. Some ideas of what you may want to include in your file:
- Adoption papers
- Automobile titles
- Birth certificates
- Credit card and banking account numbers
- Death certificates
- Deed to property
- Divorce decrees
- Education records
- Household inventory list
- Insurance policies
- Marriage certificate
- Military service records
- Social security cards
- Stocks and bonds certificates
- Wills or trust papers
Once you have all of your paperwork gathered up, it is now time to file it. I prefer to use binders and sheet protectors. Another option would be to use an accordian file folder.
For my binder I began by creating a simple label for the outside with my label maker.
I added page protectors and added each set of documents to the appropriate page protector. (The contents of this binder contains sensitive information, so I have covered the actual document with a blank sheet so I can show you how I organize mine. However, these blank pages would not be necessary for your own personal binder.)
I labeled each sheet protector using my label maker to easy find what I am looking for.
I store the binder in our safe. You may want to store these original documents in a safe deposit box, but be sure to keep copies at home. If anything were ever to happen, we could quickly grab the binder and have all of our most important papers ready to go.
The reason I chose to do a binder rather than an accordion file, is that it is easy for me to transport just one section of the binder, as needed. For example, say I need the kid’s birth certificates to sign up for baseball. I can simply grab the page protector out of my binder to take with me. The pages are protected in transport and I can easily return them to the binder after I am done with them.
How do you store your most important documents?
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