6 tips for keeping your paperwork organised
One of the hardest office tasks for most people to master is keeping paperwork under control.
Even if you have minimal accounts and basic bills, it’s easy to end up with piles of unnecessary superannuation statements, junk mail and decades-old bank statements. It can be very overwhelming trying to deal with it all so we’ve put together six tips to help you keep your paperwork organised.
1. Divide your paperwork into categories
The first step of successful paperwork management is to categorise the types of paperwork you have. For example you might like to use some of the following categories: Tax, School, Household, Car, Medical and Personal. Once you have these categories you can store them in files, display folders, boxes or filling cabinets.
2. Go digital
One of the best ways to deal with an overload of paperwork is to go paperless. Email or call your bank and have them send your statements electronically. Pay as many bills as you can online and save the PDFs in files on your computer. Have a main folder on your computer labelled Paperwork and have sub-categories like the ones previously mentioned. That way if you ever need to find a document, you can just search for it on your computer rather than go rifling through a box. Not to mention going paperless is much better for the environment.
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Pay as many bills as you can online and save the PDFs on your computer.
3. Develop a system
There are countless paperwork filing systems available for purchase but you need to find that works for you. Your system might work best if you have an inbox where you store your important papers and then file them once a month. If you have a high volume of paperwork, it might work best if you file every day. Find a system that’s manageable for you.
4. Keep it simple
If you have a physical or digital folder labelled ‘car’, it’s perfectly fine to put all your car related papers in there, without getting too fanatical about the order the documents go in. There’s no need to go overboard with sub-categories like insurance/car services/accident reports/accident photos. Chances are you’ll never even need anything in that folder so just put all your papers in there. You can spend an extra five minutes searching for a document if you need it. There’s no point in getting too finicky about your filing.
There’s no need to go overboard with sub-categories.
5. Get rid of clutter
One of the main factors that contributes to a surplus of paperwork clutter is the fact that most people are too afraid to throw anything away. If you get sent a bill in the mail, pay it online and digitally record your receipt number, there’s no need to keep the bill. You can throw it away immediately, especially if you’ve been sent an email receipt of your payment. Any payslips or bank statements that are over seven years old can also be shredded and thrown away.
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If you’re still a bit nervous about throwing something away, take a photo of the document with your phone and email to yourself. Most companies and government bodies accept digital representations of receipts and payslips so there’s no need to hold on to the hard copy.
6. Stop printing everything
If you get sent an important email, there’s no real need to print it. You can give it a tag in your email system so it’s easy to find but you rarely need a hardcopy of any document that gets emailed to you.