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How to Arrange Your Documents and Papers

Top tips for keeping your bills and important documents in order. 

Drawers pile up and folders split open from the weight of documents that were important at one time or another. But, alas, when we go to find the one document we need, it is nowhere to be found.  

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Growing paperwork and misplaced documents is a problem in many households but with a strategic system you can keep everything you need organised and accessible. Here is your guide to keeping your records organised in the long term.  

1. Create time and space  

If you are starting from scratch, you should schedule at least half a day for the organisation and clean-up. To do this, clear the kitchen table or, if necessary, make way for the floor to have enough space for all your documents. Ensure you have a sufficient number of blank, unlabelled files and colourful tabs before you begin. And now you’re ready to go!  

2. Categorise  

First think about the different categories you will need to accurately store your documents. Common topics include insurance, finance, health, retirement, contracts, job, home, children, car, leisure, user manuals, etc.  

3. Clear out  

Use the opportunity of categorising your documents to sort out obsolete, unnecessary documents. These can include receipts for things whose guarantee has already expired, contracts that have long been terminated, etc. These should be shredded and put into the paper-rubbish bin (don't forget to recycle). The more you clear out, the less you will have to file later.  

4. Arrange chronologically  

Once you have categorised your documents, there should be several piles of paper in front of you. Next, sort each batch chronologically so the newest documents are at the top of the piles and the oldest papers are at the bottom. If necessary, create additional subcategories that will be helpful for quick retrieval. Write down the subcategories on the respective tabs for each topic which will provide even more structure.  

5. Digitising  

We recommend that you store the most important personal documents digitally so that they are secured in the event of a fire or water damage. Finally, take a little time to scan some papers and save the digital files in a cloud that you can access from anywhere.   

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