Do you have piles of papers/documents on your desk, but don’t know which ones you should take care of within the next few days, or week? And, perhaps some of those papers don’t need to be looked at for at least a year?
In case you didn’t already know, there are two basic categories for filing documents; ACTIVE and INACTIVE .
ACTIVE files are for papers you will want to access during the upcoming week for temporary use. Keep these papers on your desk in what’s called a vertical table top ‘step’ file holder (viewed sideways, this type of holder is reminiscent of a staircase). Label 5 to 7 manila folders (not pendaflex) with ACTION words such as To- Do’s, Phone calls, RSVP, To file, Bills to pay, Pending, and Order & Purchase.
Sort your mail right when you bring it into your house or apartment. This will take about a minute or two. Recycle the junk mail directly into the waste basket, or recycle bin (should be located near your ACTIVE files). Shred credit card solicitations, and other unwanted mail containing sensitive information.
Put unpaid bills into the PAY folder. If you’ve a question about any of these bills, put them into the CALL folder. Once you are ready to pay the bills, take the PAY folder to the location you pay your bills, and pay them all at once. (Schedule in your calendar specific days/times to pay bills, make phone calls, and do your filing). All bills that have been paid, stamped and addressed should go into an OUTGOING MAIL folder until they are ready to be mailed.
Keep your ACTION file in a prominent place such as your desk, wherever your mail tends to pile up, or where you pay your bills.
An INACTIVE file or record is one with which all actions have been completed. These documents won’t need to be referenced on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis, Files such as former tax returns, bank statements, or memorabilia such as greeting cards, letters, certificates can be stored in a filing cabinet, or in plastic or sturdy cardboard storage boxes that are covered and labeled.
Be sure to keep up with both of these types of files by reviewing them periodically, and purging what you don’t need to keep.
I’d love to know if you already have these types of file categories, and it not, what steps you will take to create them?
If you live in the Boston area, and would like a FREE 1/2 hour telephone consultation to discuss your clutter issues, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org