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Organizing Important Papers

Category Paperwork
These vital documents need to be both safe and easily accessible. Here are ideas for protecting and organizing them so you can find them when you need them. This is a guide about organizing important papers.
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May 17, 2011

I have just moved and ended up with five dish drainers. (Don't ask.) So, I was gathering them up to donate and thought of a way to keep a second one in the bedroom's office.

You can use the separations for binders (1 inch is best), large envelopes, or portfolios. The slant is perfect, and you can keep different sizes with the larger in back.

You can also keep cookbooks, owners manuals, index cards, tablets or envelopes in there, too. N-JOY!

By Sandi/Poor But Proud from Salem, OR

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By 15 found this helpful
August 13, 2009

I have a 3 ring binder for each of us (my husband and I) to organize our financial information and I also have a binder for joint financial information. In each of our binders I have a section for such as Social Security statements that come one time a year, a section for retirement information, section for life insurance, section for CD and savings and so on.

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I use clear separator sheets that I insert contact information for each section. For instance my life insurance I have the name, address and telephone number of who to contact and how much the life insurance pay out should be.

My husband and I are not the only ones that know about these binders. I have shared our binders with each of our grown kids. That way if one of us passes away or we are not able to handle our own business and the other is not able to handle the financial side the thought is one of our kids can step in and assist. They have thought this is such a good idea that they have started their own binders.

By Meemaw

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By 15 found this helpful
May 19, 2009

Protect your important documents (insurance info, car titles, warranties, etc.) by placing them is a zip lock bag in your freezer. Should a fire occur, they will not be burned.

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Source: We've done this for years.

By Charlene from Concord, NC

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June 13, 20013 found this helpful

If you have access to a scanner, scan and file on disk all your important papers, such as birth certificates and medical documents that you would be hard pressed to reproduce in a short time.

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November 5, 2008

When I find binders at thrift stores, I pick them up. I find that putting the clear pages in that I have split the long way and sealed with tape over the tops, makes a nice filing system.

Organizing With Thrift Store Binders

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By 3 found this helpful
August 31, 2012

Turn the pages over (top to bottom) and then staple at the Top-Right corner. Now when you are going through stacks of multipage packets, you will not cut your fingertips on the curved edges of the staple.

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October 14, 20080 found this helpful

For the vintage little girl in all of us, use your old, err I mean, vintage open backed multi-storied doll house as a paper organizer on your desk. Looks cute and each "room" can be labeled or decorated accordingly.

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June 18, 20131 found this helpful

This guide is about keeping track of your car's maintenance requirements. Keeping good records of your auto maintenance will help you keep your car running well.

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By 1 found this helpful
December 7, 2011

Both my hubby and I once worked at the Post Office as youngsters. We learned a method there that we still use in everyday life when we have to alphabetize any group of items.

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The divisions were A-D, E-L, M-R and S-Z.

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April 20, 20090 found this helpful

If you are involved in many different kinds of organizations or work committees, sometimes it is helpful to have a different briefcase for each function.

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October 10, 20040 found this helpful

With all the trouble we are having with weather created disasters, we need to make sure we have records of importance in a few safe places. Security boxes and locked freezers work well.

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November 8, 20170 found this helpful

Many products come with some type of warranty. Keeping the documentation where you can refer to it may help with arranging repairs or replacements. This is a guide about organizing warranty documents.

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October 1, 20170 found this helpful

Applying for and receiving Social Security payments can generate some important paperwork that you will want to keep should you need to contact the Social Security office with questions or reply to inquiries from them. This is a guide about organizing Social Security paperwork.

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By 0 found this helpful
October 9, 2013

Grab yourself a pretty and cute 3-ring binder, add some dividers, and start tracking your finances.

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March 13, 20120 found this helpful

This is a guide about organizing paperwork for taxes. Make the arrival of tax season less stressful by organizing the paperwork needed for preparing taxes.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

July 29, 20040 found this helpful

I can't find a file labeling system that works for me. I can't find my important papers when needed. Does anyone have any filing system ideas for me?

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By Wendy

Answers

By Trudy (Guest Post)
July 29, 20040 found this helpful
Best Answer

First of all, try to really determine what "important" is. I think all of us keep a lot more than we really need. For insurance papers (i.e. doctor visits and follow-up insurance statements) I have a folder for each person in the family. We don't go that often, but if there is a problem or discrepancy on a statement, I have each particular illness or check-up filed together. I always put the most recent in front. Of course, you want life insurance policies, credit card information, etc. easily accessible. You may want a folder that says "Credit Card Statements" and put all of them in there for a year and then if you really think you still need them, put them in a shoebox or other box to keep until you feel comfortable shredding them.


Trudy Powell

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By Cheryl from Missouri (Guest Post)
July 29, 20040 found this helpful
Best Answer

Label your folders like the Yellow Pages: Insurance, Auto; Insurance, Home; Insurance, Medical; etc. that way all the insurance files are together, all the credit card statements, and utilities are filed by each other.

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July 29, 20040 found this helpful
Best Answer

I use 3-ring binders for filing instead of file folders. It's too easy to take a folder out and forget to put it back! I have a binder for each of my 3 teenagers (for school information, driver's training, etc.) I also have one for insurance, pets, banking, automobiles, bill paying, and medical records. I use tabs to label sections within the binder; e.g., one tab for each car, etc.

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I have these binders on a shelf in the room where I pay the bills. I also have an accordion-type folder where I file the monthly paperwork after paying bills like gas, electric and cable, one month in each slot. There's a special slot for tax-related receipts so those are handy when tax-time comes around. I keep mortgage and car loan paperwork in the bill-paying binder.

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By Melody (Guest Post)
December 7, 20040 found this helpful
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I file our household papers the same way I file the company books. Bills that are reacuring always have their own folder and are labeled accordingly ei. Phone, gas, power ect. Have a file at the back for misc. bills that you still need to keep but don't have a place for them. All the monthly bills are at the front of the filing cabinet and I have the income tax, paystubs, ROE's at the back(because they are important). Remember you always file with the newest bill at the front. If you don's have a filing cabinet you can always use an accordian file.

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By 0 found this helpful
March 1, 2007

My 6 year old DD thinks she needs to keep every scrap of paper that the school sends home. How can I get her to realize that this is way too much to keep and help her minimize her paper stack? I have explained to her that it is way too much to collect, and we just don't have the room. We live in a small 2 bedroom apartment on an extremely tight budget and cannot afford to buy storage containers for her to keep the stuff in. I did give her a big wicker basket to put papers in and this is starting to overflow. Sorry this is so long.

Thank you for any help and advice on this.

jmz2005 from Illinois

Answers

By Laurie Lotter (Guest Post)
March 1, 20070 found this helpful

My son is the same way. I keep an accordion folder with the months of the year on my desk. I put ALL of his papers in it by month. At the end of the semester, I go through them with him and we decide which ones to keep longer. I do this again at the end of the year with all the months. He usually relinquishes about 1/2 - 3/4 of them.

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March 1, 20070 found this helpful

My grand daughter lives with her mom in a small one bedroom apartment & had the same problem (saving every paper she did) So I went to the dollar store & bought some colorful plastic clothes pins & I took 2 pushpins & some yarn (or rope). I hung about 4 feet of yarn horizontally between the 2 pushpins on the wall. To make a sort of "clothes line". We hung her pictures on the "line" with colorful plastic clothes-pins.

This is her very own art display & it takes up no room at all because it just hangs on the wall next to her bed & will only hold 5 or so pictures. When you make the "art line" you'll need to tell her that for every picture she hangs up, she has to take one down. (because of the obvious lack of room on the line) If you like you can make a two tiered clothes line.... (one on top of the other) which will hold more.

As far as the artwork in the basket. You might buy a pretty folder with her name on it or use a fancy box, & decide on a number, say 30 for example, & when she gets over 30, she needs to decide which one to get rid of to be able to add a new one to the bunch. If you do this at the same time you hand up the "art-line" she will know you are so proud of her work, you want to display it & maybe she will be more receptive to letting go of the rest. Tell her if she want's to use the art-line, the rule is: She HAS to get rid of most of the work in her overflowing basket & decide on a more manageable number of papers to keep.

* I was in the very same situation myself, way back when... I lived in a super-tiny place & every time, I brought home another dress or outfit from the thrift store, my boyfriend would highly encourage me to give another outfit away.... I didn't like it, but it sure worked!

One more idea is to get a large piece of poster board & make a collage of her favorite older work. This way she can cut up pieces of her work into fun shapes & glue them to the poster board. Well... at least that's one way to get her to let go of her proud accomplishments & display them at the same time.

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March 5, 20070 found this helpful

I have been saving my daughters school papers since she started preschool at age 3 and she is now 8. I make sure the papers are dated and punch holes in them and then place them in a three ring binder. For larger art projects or those items you can't put in a binder I put them in a box/plastic container that fits under the bed. The binders fit on one of her bookshelves or they could also be stored in a box/plastic container under the bed.

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March 5, 20070 found this helpful

other than art work, maybe she is fearful that she needs these papers...if that is the case, get the teacher to tell her that she only needs to keep them from one report card to the next. Teachers are always right at her age.

I keep my grand daughters that way, because I have had several instances where the teacher claimed she did not turn in her work, as there was no grade in the lesson book. I found out what she was supposedly missing and located the papers and turned them in myself.

Teacher's are NOT perfect.
Once you are an adult, you know this fact, or should

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By timmel (Guest Post)
March 5, 20070 found this helpful

Each night when my girls come home from school I put their daily papers in a shirt gift box - like the kind you find at Christmas to wrap shirts in. It usually takes 2 boxes to get through a school year for us. Then at the end of the year you can decide if you want to keep the ones from the year before. It doesn't take up much space to keep one years worth.

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March 5, 20070 found this helpful

If you have a scanner, you could keep the papers on file in your computer. Your daughter could look at them from time to time if she needed to.

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March 6, 20070 found this helpful

Thank You for all the great ideas. This really helps!

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March 6, 20070 found this helpful

I would try to "nip this in the bud" right now if you can.
I made the mistake of saving every paper my daughter brought home from school.
She is now 23 years old and saves EVERYTHING!!
She has saved every purse, backpack, note that someone gave her in grade 3, everything.
Unless you want to end up with a packrat that can't throw anything out, do as the others suggest. Have a box for each year, once that box is full, that's it for the year. If the year isn't over, explain to her the room limitations and if she wants to add something she must make room in the box by removing something else. This shouldn't include report cards and important stuff like that. Buy an expandable folder for those, one should last till graduation

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By 0 found this helpful
June 29, 2012

I have a lot of papers and they are driving me crazy! I am looking for a system where I can scan old bills, papers, etc. into, that would organize as well. Any suggestions? I am looking for the least expensive method. My husband said that our scanner would take way too long.

Thank you!

By Deirdre from Colorado Springs, CO

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June 29, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

Well the first thing I thought of when I read you scanner was the NeatDesk Organiser I've seen advertised on TV http://www.usat  sk-scanner_N.htm

Then I read an article that said for the money you are better off with the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 http://lawyeris  ocument-scanner/

Another reslut in my search found a site that talked about 3 ways to organize papers and had additional links, I'll let you read all about it http://financia  ent_software.htm

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April 16, 20050 found this helpful

Tips for storing important papers. Post your ideas.

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April 16, 20050 found this helpful
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Need a place to store important papers? Take a binder and put in page protectors. Just slide your papers into the page protectors. You can get dividers and have separate sections for certain items.
ie: bills, pay stubs etc.

By Tori

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