Paper Organization 101: Financial Files

  • By birdie@getorganizedcolumbus.com
  • 06 Feb, 2017
Financial Papers
Whether you love record keeping or hate it, it is that time of year that we all have to do it; or at least, think about doing it. Pulling together tax documentation can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. There is a simple formula for keeping financial paperwork throughout the year. […] 
Whether you love record keeping or hate it, it is that time of year that we all have to do it; or at least, think about doing it. Pulling together tax documentation can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. There is a simple formula for keeping financial paperwork throughout the year. Here are some tips for Paper Organization 101.
Keep in mind, when we work with our clients, we customize a filing system according to the individual’s personal needs. But there are some basic guidelines we can apply to all.
In general, you can start with short-term and long-term files. Short-term means one fiscal year, and can be purged annually after taxes (with the exception of items that will help support tax filing). Here is an example of what you might find in your short-term financial files:
  • Bills to Pay
  • Paid Bills
  • Bank Statements
  • Credit Card Statements
  • Health Records
  • Health Care Accounts
  • Receipts (may be kept long-term)
  • Business Expenses if applicable
  • Income Tax Records/Deductions/Income
  • Employment Records and Resumes
  • Pet Records
For long-term files, you generally are keeping things with a life span, such as policies, home ownership documents, etc.
  • Insurance Policies
  • Investment Titles and Statements
  • Major Purchase Receipts
  • Home Improvement Documentation
  • Titles of Ownership, home, car, property ownership, etc
  • Vital Docs i.e., birth certificates, SS Cards, passports, immunization records
  • Education Records and transcripts
  • Legal records like wills, power of atty, trusts, inheritance
  • Legal docs like marriage or divorce records
  • Tax returns and supporting documents for 7 years
These basics will cover the majority of your paperwork. You will find other categories as you begin to work through your piles. We want to be sure to recommend that you scan any long-term files that you can to reduce your paper load, keep a safe copy of your important records, and shred any unwanted papers that include your identifying info.
Happy tax season!

Get Organized Columbus

By Tera Harmon 16 Jan, 2018
Ever have that feeling after your home has been cleaned that things still don't seem put away and tidy? Or maybe you get that nagging sense when you walk into a room that things still need a "once over." Even in frequently-cleaned homes, we can feel like there is more to do when our clutter is the first thing that catches our eye in each room. Well the clutter itself may not be the only culprit. Our house habits can help highlight the things we use in a way that is not flattering.  Can you recognize any of these hotspots in your home?
By Tera Harmon 08 Jan, 2018
Photo Credit: Jay Wennington
By Birdie Brennan 04 Dec, 2017
Photo Credit: Kari Shea
By Tera Harmon 27 Nov, 2017
I always look forward to this cooler time of year to review coats and to decide where best to donate them. So many times when we hear about making a donation, we feel pressure to give financially. But giving something once owned and loved can be a fulfilling part of holiday tradition. I especially love involving kids so they can learn the idea of thinking of others at this time of year. Showing our kids how to prepare an item for donation teaches them how to care for others, but it also shows them to consider how their belongings can be useful beyond their own toy box. The act of cleaning up a gently used truck or putting new batteries into a remote control car to donate demonstrates to kids that our items are valuable to others--and that condition matters. This donation ritual is also an important purge ritual before the influx of contents that are about to enter our homes. 
By Tera Harmon 16 Nov, 2017

For even the most novice cooks, between now and the end of the year, many kitchens are about to get a workout. We may be hosting parties, holiday meals, trying a new recipe or two, participating in pot lucks, or baking with friends and family. Would't it be great if everything we need is at our fingertips--clean and functional for when we need it?


So often the tools and items we rely on at this time of year are somewhere in the back of cupboards, sideboards, or stored on basement shelving. I recommend gathering, cleaning, and staging the items you know will be needed in the coming weeks. In last week's post ( https://www.getorganizedcolumbus.com/the-ready-made-pantry ) we talked about a well-stocked pantry for the holiday season; for now, let's focus on the items we will likely need in the kitchen and dining areas.
More Posts

Get Organized Columbus

By Tera Harmon 16 Jan, 2018
Ever have that feeling after your home has been cleaned that things still don't seem put away and tidy? Or maybe you get that nagging sense when you walk into a room that things still need a "once over." Even in frequently-cleaned homes, we can feel like there is more to do when our clutter is the first thing that catches our eye in each room. Well the clutter itself may not be the only culprit. Our house habits can help highlight the things we use in a way that is not flattering.  Can you recognize any of these hotspots in your home?
By Tera Harmon 08 Jan, 2018
Photo Credit: Jay Wennington
By Birdie Brennan 04 Dec, 2017
Photo Credit: Kari Shea
By Tera Harmon 27 Nov, 2017
I always look forward to this cooler time of year to review coats and to decide where best to donate them. So many times when we hear about making a donation, we feel pressure to give financially. But giving something once owned and loved can be a fulfilling part of holiday tradition. I especially love involving kids so they can learn the idea of thinking of others at this time of year. Showing our kids how to prepare an item for donation teaches them how to care for others, but it also shows them to consider how their belongings can be useful beyond their own toy box. The act of cleaning up a gently used truck or putting new batteries into a remote control car to donate demonstrates to kids that our items are valuable to others--and that condition matters. This donation ritual is also an important purge ritual before the influx of contents that are about to enter our homes. 
More Posts
Share by: