File cabinets can be a great tool for productivity for you home office organization as well as life in general. But only if you use them properly. The role of a file cabinet to organize your home office has truly changed with the digital times. However at a time when we no longer need to keep everything we are piled high with papers!
The question I hear the most when helping homeowners and business owners organize their office is, “How do I know what is important enough to keep?” I wish there was an easy answer, but the truth is, it depends.
For personal office productivity it is important to keep a file for current life activities and a separate location for business organization. For example, if you have children there is certain information you will need to prove residency for school. Or you may have a home project to keep track of such as a kitchen remodel. Your home business paperwork should be completely separated.
Here is a quick list of what you should have in your file cabinet:
Current year tax information - This includes property tax bill, W2’s, bank information and other items received in the mail during tax season.
Current year receipts for purchases - Big ticket items that may be covered under a warranty or used for taxes should be kept. Keep receipts in case a return of the item is necessary. Also keep receipts if you would like to organize your expenses for budgeting purposes.
Warranty information for items still covered - Warranty and operation books are not absolutely necessary anymore because the information can most often be retrieved online. However, if the purchase is recent it might make sense to have the operational manual on hand while you get familiar with the item.
Current insurance information - Some insurance providers have this information readily accessible online, but some don’t. If they don’t, keep your last two statements in the file so you can easily compare and notice and changes in coverage.
7 years of tax returns - That’s right. You only need seven. Enough said.
Current home projects and/or activities - Use this category wisely. Just because groups, clubs and events hand you things, does not mean you need to file it. If it is a t-ball schedule, take a picture of it or put it in your calendar. If you are remodeling your kitchen and have 3 proposals, keep the one you decide on and collect remaining information in same folder.
Long Term Paperwork - Mortgage,Loan & Investment Paperwork, certificates and social security information.
*Consider keeping vital records and information in a fireproof safe.
That’s it! It is not too hard and not as overwhelming as it used to be. Most of our information is readily available online including bank statements, credit card bills and operation manuals. Take advantage of these resources and lighten your load. Make sure to dispose of your mountain of paperwork properly. There are shredding services that come to your door and even shredding services that offer free shredding periodically at community events. Once you get to the level that is manageable, keep a shredder by your workspace and make sure to sign up for “paperless billing” when possible.
Sometimes a project like this is overwhelming just to get started or you are simply too busy.
Make sure you can actually get to your file cabinet
Make sure the file cabinets are in good working condition
Purge every 6 months
For more ideas and solutions for home office organization like these, contact Kristine Todd with