Transform Your Piles of Paperwork

Paperwork is a thorn in the side of most of my friends and clients.  It is a can be difficult to control and organize because of the mere volume we receive, we are constantly indited with mailers, statements, documents, etc…

One of my clients was struggling with her divorce documents, she had them piled into boxes and bags in her closet so I brought them home to organize into binders.  Because of my background in insurance claims and law I am well versed in what documents my clients should hang on to and those they can let go of.  It is so important to have all of your critical documents in a safe place in case of an emergency (fire, theft, natural disaster, etc.), here is what is considered an important document:

  • Insurance policies and contact information
  • Bank accounts and contact information
  • Debt obligations, due dates, and contact information
  • Your family’s passports or visas
  • List of doctors and contact information
  • List of medications, prescription numbers, and contact information of all pharmacies that you use
  • Copy of durable power of attorney, living wills, and health care proxies – Yours and all those of which you are attorney-in-fact or health care surrogate
  • Copy of each of your wills and all those of which you are the executor
  • Safety deposit box keys
  • Investment, retirement, and bank accounts, with all contact information
  • Your original Social Security card and birth certificate

I recommend having a copy of marriage/divorce/birth/social documents in a safety deposit box and with an emergency contact.

I brought my client’s documents home with me to sort and put into binders.  I started the project by creating piles on my living room floor for each category (child support, home inventory, taxes, custody, etc..) Then I decided which categories made sense to be in the same binder.  Then I 3-hole punched everything and filed them into binders with labeled tabs and an index on the front cover.

Here is a photo of the documents that I unloaded from the boxes and bags before I sorted them…

Before
After
Before
After
My client was so happy to have all of her documents organized and she was relieved that she didn’t have sort through everything on her own.  She couldn’t believe that I turned 2 boxes and a bag into 4 organized binders!
If you have a ton of paperwork that you want organized her are my tips:
  • Don’t buy any binders or products until you know how much paperwork you need to file.
  • Collect all of you paperwork into a central location and sort it into categories.
  • While you are sorting have a bag for trash, recycling, and shredding in your workspace.
  • Decide uninterrupted time to focus on your project, weather it is 30 minutes or 3 hours-turn off your cell phone/TV and limit distractions!
  • Less is more- if there are items that you know you don’t need to file but require action create an action pile and give yourself a deadline (14-30 days) to follow up.
  • Keep up the good work!  Try to schedule 5 minutes per day, 30 minutes per week, or 2 hours per month to keep up on your paperwork.
  • If you are unsure what you need to keep check out this paperwork post.
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0 Responses

  1. Wow, you're so inspiring, Amanda! I used to be more organized like that, but time is my enemy now (and energy!). People are fortunate to have you to take care of these important tasks for them. I told my client, Chuck, that you're like a little whirlwind that flies in, swirls around, and everything is done! He knows what I mean now, and totally agrees! : )

  2. This paperwork idea is also good for your home appliances etc. I have kept one for years and it makes repairs, updates so much easier and handy! excellent job!!

  3. I’ve had this idea in my head for awhile but it seems so overwhelming, specifically with my reference materials and articles I have collected over the years. I can’t seem to part with the information but it is piled up in tubs. Right now if I need to find a specific article I’m digging in piles of paper, books and binders. But now that I seen these B&A, I am inspired to TACKLE! I am enjoying your website, so much more concise as opposed to watching videos. Thank you!

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