Despite our many technological advancements, a certain degree of paperwork is still a part of life and business. Ironically, the more digitalized things have become, the trickier it has become to manage files and paperwork. That’s because less emphasis is paid to physical paper. Thus, it can quickly pile up if not paid attention to.
So, let’s go back to basics with this brief guide on organizing paperwork in the age of the smart home office. If you’re a victim of a paperwork deluge, keep reading to find out how to calm the storm.
Digitalize What You Can as Soon as You Can
The first thing to do is categorize your paperwork into things that can be scanned and stored digitally and things you want to keep physical. Nowadays, there is very little paperwork that you are obligated to keep physically. But be honest: there are most likely documents you are keeping that can be scanned and stored digitally.
Whether an external hard drive or the cloud, the next step is to decide where to store your scans. This may take a day or two of decluttering, but it’s worth it. You could reduce your load by 70-90%.
Once the already existing pile has been reduced, the final step is to put a set of precautions in place for future paperwork. For instance, contact service providers, clients, and banks to inform them that you prefer digital bills. Again, preferences differ from one person to the next, but do your best to ensure that all your hard work decluttering wasn’t in vain.
Get a Paper Shredder
One of the biggest reasons that many fear throwing away paperwork is because of the sensitive information it contains. This is why it’s important to be able to efficiently dispose of it in the right way. The best way to do this is to get a good-quality paper shredder.
You’ll feel far more motivated to dispose of unnecessary paperwork when you’re confident that you can give it a thorough shedding!
Invest in the right Filing System For You
At this stage, you should have dramatically reduced your load. But depending on whether you’re a small business or a family, “load” can mean very different things.
The next step is to create a filing system that is clear and easy to maintain. For example, someone running a business from home may think of purchasing a filing cabinet that will hold the paperwork. If a filing cabinet is too much for your situation, an open-top filing box might be ideal for organizing files.
Estimate how much paperwork you plan to keep in the future before buying.
Now we’ve dealt with the macro aspect of your filing system, let’s move to the micro. Labeling your files is vital for document safety and organization. Separate your files into categories likes “Invoices”, “Taxes”, etc. Then break those categories further down into dates.
Find the best equipment that works for your filing container. Folders, tabs, and labels come in all shapes and sizes. For instance, the Bottom Tab Dividers here are ideal for organizing your files within your system.
This principle also applies to how you can organize your digital documents.
Organizing Paperwork Made Easy
Once you come to terms with what can be digitalized, organizing paperwork becomes a breeze. A little time and preparation are necessary to put things in order, but when the ball is rolling, you never have to lose control again.
By setting a little time once every 6 months or so to shred and tidy your office, it can remain a serene environment where storms of paperwork no longer rage.
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