Paper: What to Keep and How Long

Posted by on Jun 1, 2013 in Nikki works with Elizabeth, the Professional Organizer | 0 comments

Paper: What to Keep and How Long

Nikki and Elizabeth, her Professional Organizer, are ready to tackle the paper in the home office.  The office has the boxes and bags of paper that need to be sorted.  Nikki says that she has started sorting several times, but gets overwhelmed because she doesn’t know which papers she needs to keep and how long to keep them.

Elizabeth tells Nikki that there are several different approaches to keeping paper.  They vary from saving everything forever to keeping only what cannot be replaced and everything in between.  The deciding factor is how comfortable you are with the risk that you will not have something when you need it.  Elizabeth stresses to Nikki that she is not a CPA or attorney and if Nikki is uncertain about an item, she should consult these professionals.

Nikki has decided to use the FreedomFiler® system,, to organize her paper because it has a retention schedule as part of the filing process.  If Nikki feels that she wants to keep something longer than the plan suggests there is also an archiving method.

The FreedomFiler® system automatically purges records according to the following schedule:

Monthly statements and receipts, not tax related, are kept for two years.

Tax-related items are kept with the tax return in the active file for two years then transferred to an archive file where they can be kept for 10 to 100 years.

Information related to people, pets, or possessions are kept as long as they remain in the family or business.  For example, auto records are kept as long as you own the car.  Fido’s medical records are kept as long as he is alive.

Ongoing documents such as an employee benefits package or leases are replaced when the newer version becomes active.

Active files like bills to pay, or items waiting on a response will be kept in a vertical file on top of the desk where Nikki will always see them.

Nikki especially likes the FreedomFiler® color coding system because she is so visually oriented.



Next post:  Nikki and Elizabeth quickly sort the paper by setting up a system.





Learn along with Nikki as she and Elizabeth, the Professional Organizer, get the house organized room by room.

Copyright© 2013 Elizabeth Tawney Gross, Organizing For Everyday, LLC

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