When I worked at Barnes and Noble I loved shelving. I think it spoke to my organizer’s heart to put the books on their designated shelf, neatly arranged by author or subject. I’ll admit, I still adjust the books sometimes when I’m in there browsing.
It never failed, though. I’d have a customer looking for a book on slow cooking and we’d go to the shelf, scan the titles but no luck. Then later I’d find the book in question tucked away in another section, hiding between books on World War II.
And it’s worse on computers because when you go looking for a specific file, all you see is Document 1, New Document, Document 1(2), Monthly Report, and so on. Then you have to open up dozens of files to find the one that you’re looking for. Another hour wasted.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re ready to save time – and avoid frustration – when you’re working, let’s get together and talk about how to make it happen through document organizing.
Do you really need to keep that paperwork?
Records retention guidelines may vary in their recommendations, but you can usually consider these guidelines to apply to both paper and digital files. Yes, you could hang on to digital files longer since they appear to take up less space. But the question becomes, do you need to?
Instead of weeding through their digital files, many people purchase more cloud storage or an external hard drive. But consider this…purchasing that extra space is equivalent to purchasing a storage unit for your physical papers. Do you really want to do that?
Vital documents such as a birth certificate, marriage license, immunization records, etc. should be considered permanent. These are often in paper form, so go ahead and scan them into your computer to have a second copy you can keep ‘at home’ while you put the originals in a safe place. When discussing records retention, financial documents require special attention. I recommend contacting a lawyer or financial advisor if you have specific questions about keeping your investment reports or other financial paperwork.
For more information, check out these guidelines for how long to keep your records:
IRS Guidelines for Taxes for small businesses and the self-employed
BBB Records Retention Schedule for Individuals/Consumer Records
Questions? Need help sorting through your files? Let’s talk!