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How to Organize Your Documents

A stack of documents ready to be filed.

We live in a paperless world, but there are still plenty of stacks of papers that can easily crowd our desktops, drawers, filing cabinets, and our peace of mind. Organize all your documents so you can better prepare yourself for a successful, well-rounded life by trying out some of these tips in today’s Liv Northgate Blog.

First, reduce and simplify.

If you’re like many of us, odds are you probably have folders and stacks of mail full of documents that you probably don’t need to keep. Some of them may even still be around after years! Tackle these papers first by checking out your most recent papers and going through them with the mindset of organizing by need. Documents related to taxes, insurance, and other important things should be kept, but some you don’t even need. Keep a shredder and recycling bin handy so it’s easy to immediately get rid of the old and unimportant papers.  

Depending on your habits and the number of papers you need to go through, getting rid of everything that it is unnecessary to keep may take a while. Focus on one small step at a time and give yourself a timeline so you have something to work toward.

Organize by category.

Once you’ve purged all the unnecessary papers, sort according to a system that works for you. One idea, used by many people, is to organize by category: financial documents can be filed together and organized by year, while documents pertaining to your identity (including your birth certificate, social security card, and passport) can stay together. If there are multiple people in your household, keep this organization method consistent for everyone by designating a folder for each person within the categories. 

Take photos.

Of course, sometimes there are documents you want or know you should keep but that you don’t necessarily need to have a physical copy of — for example, crafts, hand-drawn photos, letters, or certificates. If you have a smartphone, camera, or even access to a scanner, take a photo so you can have an electronic backup. Then connect your photos to an online storage space like Google Drive so they can stay safe even if your phone breaks.

Whatever your specific organization method, the key is to give each paper a home. If you need to make yourself a guide for finding these documents later, create one on your phone or in a trusted notebook. All of these efforts will definitely help you feel more on top of your life. Here’s to being more organized and less overwhelmed with paperwork right here in Gilbert, AZ! Good luck!