How to Organize Important Documents at Home – Sorting and Storing Tips

Written by: Michael Vaughan

Although managing a large pile of clutter before moving can be daunting, learning how to organize important documents at home can bring a lot of benefits to your overall quality of life. Creating a good, well-organized system will allow you to find everything you require in the shortest time possible, so take a look at how you can make one that is just the right for you.

Keeping your files in one place will allow you to find everything much more quickly

You won’t become organized overnight, so you have to start with all the basics first. Place the pile in one spot, sort through each document, and then categorize everything in one of several ways. Since the process may take a whole day or more to complete, you might want to consider hiring local movers in New York to assist you with the rest of the relocation.

Gather Everything You Can Find in One Place

Before setting up your filing system, you should gather all of your paperwork in one place. Do a quick sweep of the house and take out all of the paper you’ve kept in various places such as drawers and closets, and put it somewhere where you’ll have a lot of room to spread it out. This could be a desk in your home office, the dining table, or even the floor.

Place everything in one spot before you start going through each document

How to Organize Important Documents at Home – Start Sorting Everything the Right Way

Now that you have everything in one place, you can start sorting each document into the correct category. In case you do miss anything, don’t worry, as you can easily add it at a later date. Usually, you want to have these four main categories:

  • Active – This group should contain all the paper that you want to use in the near future, after which you’ll be able to discard them. For example, if you’re making a moving to-do list to remind yourself to hire some New York City movers, you’ll keep it nearby until the relocation is complete. Other examples include appointments, invitations, and all kinds of payment reminders.
  • Inactive – Items in this category won’t have to be referenced more than a few times a year. Examples include medical records, personal data, tax returns, real estate deeds, and contracts. Since these are your most important files, you’ll have to make sure they are appropriately organized.
  • Household – Any document that keeps your household running smoothly should be kept separately. This includes everything from coupons to instruction manuals. You should also save all the receipts, even those from ordering the best takeout in NYC, as you’ll need them to do your yearly taxes.
  • Discard – Everything that doesn’t fall into one of the three categories mentioned above goes here. The group includes anything disposable such as newspapers, magazines, and old mail.

Sort All Incoming Papers Right Away

You’re bound to receive a ton of mail and promotional materials whether you’re living in Staten Island or the best neighborhood in Manhattan. To avoid hoarding a massive pile of papers, start sorting your incoming paperwork right away. After selecting the things you require or plan to use soon, dispose of everything else.

Dealing with mail right away will keep it from getting piled up again

Discard Anything You Don’t Need by Shredding, Recycling, or Simply Throwing It Away

Any paperwork you don’t require can be discarded in one of three ways. Most magazines, unwanted coupons, pamphlets, brochures, and any other promotional materials should be recycled. On the other hand, receipts are often not recyclable, so you’ll have to throw them out with the rest of your trash. Last but not least, papers with sensitive data should be shredded or destroyed. These include envelopes from the bank or post office (without the actual document), as they display your full name and address. Shred these even if you’re living in Manhattan, in one of the safest neighborhoods in NYC, as the personal information could easily be traced back to you.

Shred anything that can be traced back to you

Start Organizing Important Documents and Records

Learning how to keep important documents organized will make your life a lot easier in the long run. The purpose of the whole process is to isolate all the essential papers in a single place. This is especially useful when you need to find something quickly, like during an emergency. For starters, create a filing system, which can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. Everything you’ve primarily sorted as inactive can be separated further into one of several categories with their own folders:

  • Personal files – These include things such as your birth certificate, social security number, passport, and other IDs.
  • Health records – Make a separate folder for your health insurance details and previous medical history.
  • Real estate deeds – Whether you’re living in Queens or one of the best neighborhoods in Brooklyn, you have to keep every single document that confirms you’re the current owner of the property.
  • Financial records – When taking out a loan, make sure you keep all the statements about the payments you’ve made. Safety deposit box and saving bonds data also go into this file. If you’re a renter who’s just started apartment hunting in NYC, make sure you keep all your rent payments records.
  • Vehicle title – This is a legal form that establishes you’re the owner of a particular vehicle.
  • Pet records – If you’re planning on moving with pets, you have to keep all of their vaccination files and proof of ownership.

Separate Each File Into Smaller Subcategories

If you’re just learning how to organize important papers, don’t worry if you can only make a few of these categories. Starting with two or three is still better than not organizing at all. On the other hand, if you have a lot of paper that needs to be sorted, you might want to split some of these into smaller subcategories or add some we haven’t even mentioned here. In that case, the video below might give you an idea how to do it.

How to Store Important Documents at Home

An essential file is usually impossible to replace or very hard to come by, so keep it separated from the rest of your paperwork. Once you categorized everything, place the file in a binder, folder, or a box, whatever you prefer. The container should then be placed somewhere in your home where you can reach it fairly quickly, but not so easy that anybody could find it. If you’re unsure where to store important documents, It would be best to keep them in a safe or a fireproof container, but a drawer or the closet are also good storage options.

Going Digital Allows You to Account for Everything Without Any Paperwork

While having a hard copy of an important document is always a plus, you might want to consider going digital. You’ll have a lot less clutter to deal with, and all the necessary files will be only a few clicks away. You don’t even have to own a proper scanner, as there are many excellent mobile scanning apps you can use. When taking a photo, turn the flash option off, place the document on a flat surface in the correct orientation, and make sure there are no other objects around it.

An irreplaceable file should be kept in a safe

Always Keep an Active Document Close

Now that you’ve dealt with all the vital information, it’s time to go over the active category. As we already mentioned, it includes everything you have to address shortly. Organizing can be as simple or complex as you want, just like with the inactive category. Whether you place all your mail into separate compartments, or you keep everything in a single place, there are over a dozen excellent storing options you can choose from, including:

  • Desktop letter tray organizers,
  • Desk drawers,
  • Various sized boxes,
  • Color-coded hanging folders,
  • Cascading wall organizers,
  • Color-coded and labeled binders.

Set a Reminder for All Active Tasks

Filing a document will often cause you to forget about it completely, so set a visual reminder for all your weekly tasks. This can be done quickly by placing colored sticky notes in a spot where you can’t miss them, like a post-it board or on the edges of your computer screen. If you keep all your active paper in one place, the notes can go directly onto each document, but you have to check the folder at least once a week to avoid forgetting anything. Finally, you can even add digital notes on your computer desktop or the phone or set a reminder on the calendar.

Organize the Whole Relocation Process With a Detailed Checklist

If you’re moving in New York, you’ll want to make a detailed list of all the things to do before relocating. Having a plan is the best way to track your progress and all the information regarding the move. If you’re hiring one of the New York City moving companies to assist you, update the relocation expenses checklist. Finally, if you’re packing to move in a hurry, write down some commonly forgotten things to pack on a sticky note and place it in a visible spot. This should keep you from leaving even a single item behind.

Keeping a checklist will help you track everything throughout the relocation

Keep All Your Household’s Active References in a Binder

The household pile is the last group you need to file. It should have everything else you’re still going to use at some point, like receipt references or a manual you might occasionally check. Things like vouchers for a staycation in NYC, gift cards, and active coupons for one of the breweries in Manhattan also go here. While you can store all of these in filing cabinets or drawers, it’s best to keep all additional paper inside a binder. Last but not least, the household binders can also contain sentimental items, such as postcards from your trip to the best hikes near NYC or pictures from your last moving away party.

Keep all the postcards you got from your family over the years neatly organized

Now That You’re Done With the Filing, Hire Our New York Movers to Assist You With Relocating

That’s everything you should know about organizing your stack of paper. Gather everything in one spot, sort through the pile, categorize, and you shouldn’t have any issues in the future. However, since you already placed a lot of effort into learning how to organize documents, you might want to hire one of the moving companies in New York to assist you with planning a relocation. Whatever your reason to move may be, hiring a professional will save you from having to experience a lot more moving stress.

The good news is that you’ve already found one of the top New York moving companies on the market. Twin Brothers Movers operates throughout the city, meaning you can get our excellent residential relocation services in all five boroughs. We’re especially good at moving large items, while our packing services can help you prepare even the most delicate pieces for transport. If you like affordable, high-quality service, contact our New York moving company and get your free estimate today.

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