Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Archive Your Files Month

February is National Archive Your Files Month. Who knew? It's a great time to go through your files this time of year because you are probably getting papers from the last year in order for taxes anyway. If you haven't started yet, here are a few ways to get started.

1) Set aside some uninterrupted time to begin tackling your files
* Wear some comfy clothes, grab a cup of your favorite beverage, and turn on some tunes to make the experience more relaxing

2) Find a space to spread out the files that need to be looked at
* I love working on the floor, but a kitchen table works great too

2) Try setting a timer for 30 minutes, 1 hour, or whatever amount of time you have to start the process of going through papers

3) Have a garbage can, recycle bin, and shredder handy for putting the papers you no longer need to keep

4) For papers you do need to keep, start piles of like papers until you start to see categories emerge
* Once you have categories, label the piles with a sticky note and rubber band or paper clip them together until you can set up a file folder with the contents.
* Repeat this process until you have tackled all of the papers, if it takes you a few sessions, that's okay. Having the piles temporarily labeled and gathered together makes coming back to the task easy.

5) Once you have gone through all of the papers you are ready for the fun part of labeling files and putting them back into your file cabinet.
*If you don't have a file cabinet, there are a lots of great alternatives however a file cabinet is a great investment.
* Use hanging file folders for the broader categories and file folders for sorting papers within those categories

Example: Insurance (Hanging File Folder) Medical, Dentist, Car, Life (Sub Categories in File Folders)* When labeling, use the first word that comes to mind when you think about the papers.

When you're done you might feel positively exhausted, but also stellar knowing that you have just accomplished something that will help you be able to locate important papers in the future. Pat yourself on the back, and take a break!

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