For my first blog post I will discuss the exciting topic of file cabinets. Yes, - file cabinets. And not just the cabinets, but the over flowing contents within. If you don't own one, you probably have a stack of unopened mail or files somewhere in your home that is piling up, just waiting for someone to snatch up and become the new you in Costa Rica.
If you don't have a pile o' files, you may be organized or simply tossing mail out (not good!). I consider myself an avid organizer, but I found myself sifting through 2 year old bank statements for myself and my boyfriend the past two nights. After chuckling at my retirement fund and witty greeting cards from college graduation, I found myself questioning 'what is important to keep and what can I shred?' (Notice I said shred, not toss).
Check out this useful article from BankRate.com
describing what to keep and what to toss: How Long to Keep Financial Records
Shred any information with addresses, account information or any other personal information before throwing it out. If you don't, you could end up paying for it for life! Don't have a shredder? Cut it up, burn it - heck, eat it! Just don't throw it away in one piece.
I recommend purging files once a year. It will remind you to check all of your accounts as well as discard unnecessary clutter. You will be surprised as you feel stress lifted from your shoulders. According to BankRate.com, old bank statements can be shredded after one year, but keep quarterly and yearly summaries. Hold onto all IRS papers and Tax files as well.
For general file organization, check out the full article here.
As expected, simplicity is key. If you plan to use the files, don't keep them in a basement. Get into the habit of purging files, but be sure your banks have records available to you. Habitual organizing can save you time and money - think of boxes of files you lug back and forth when you move.
IMPORTANT: If you've ever filed for bankruptcy - read this article. You may need to invest in another file cabinet, as according to this source, you should keep all your files for 7-10 years.
One last note, if you have the option, sign up for e-statements. Just be sure you are using a secure computer to check this info. It saves time, energy and a few trees while you are at it.
#1 Rule - Keep It Simple. Lighten up your load!
Happy filing. :-)