The beginning of a New Year presents the perfect opportunity to start fresh and get organized! Although it may seem like an intimidating task, clearing out the clutter will actually help reduce stress. Disorganization puts on an enormous amount of pressure. For instance, do you know the location of important documents such as your Marriage License? Generally a Marriage License is an uncommon item to include on the list of important documents, but it is becoming more and more apparent that it should be included on that list.
Begin organizing by clarifying priorities and determining the best way to arrange important documents and belongings. Next, deal with paperwork. It's easy for cabinets and files to become overstuffed with outdated paperwork. Instead of tossing all paperwork into a big pile, sort it as you receive it. Keep important documents together and move them to a permanent location such as a safe, so they can be kept securely and accessed quickly if necessary. In case of emergencies, keep scanned copies of important documentation on a CD or USB drive.
Legal documentation such as a living will, last will and testament, and durable power of Attorney, etc. are part of that important document list. Some other important documents include:
- Divorce Decrees
- Marriage License
- Birth Certificate
- Social Security cards
- Deeds and titles for property and autos
- Education records
- Military Discharge papers
- Memberships and Subscriptions
- Health Benefit information
- Family health records
Make a place for everything, and keep everything in its place. Set up a desk file sorter or hanging files with categories with each type of action - "to call," "to pay," "to file," "to read," etc. Any obsolete documents that serve no real long-term purpose can be discarded. At the end of each day, take a few minutes to put things back in their place. Having a space for everything makes it easier to maintain order throughout the year. Organizing paperwork takes time, but, when it becomes a habit, it makes life so much easier!