Organizing documents is an important aspect of running an efficient home or office. Important paperwork can become a burden when it is not properly stored, so utilizing one of the many different methods of organization can help keep a filing system running smoothly. Paper and electronic storage systems are the two most popular methods. Within each there are many opportunities to organize by alphabetical standards or by importance. In addition, there are a few rules about getting rid of documents that help keep any file organization system at a manageable level.
The most traditional method for organizing documents is by using physical folders and filing cabinets. This system of document management allows for large quantities of documents and paperwork to be stored. Thick cardboard folders are filled with documents and then placed within a filing cabinet. Most filing cabinets allow the folders to hang from a set of metal rails for fast movement and reorganization.
A more modern solution to keeping paperwork safe and continually available is by using computers. Whether the documents are scanned and saved online or organizing software is utilized, this helps reduce clutter. Electronically organizing documents places a digital replica of important documents either online or on a hard drive so they can be quickly accessed at any later time. This eliminates the need for storing paper files, which can take up a great amount of space in any home or office.
No matter if documents are stored electronically or in physical form, there are a few different methods that can keep the files from becoming a confusing jumble. Alphabetically sorting electronic and physical files is a simple way of organizing documents that makes them available for fast retrieval. Organizing files by category is also useful because dividing digital and paper folders into "Car," "House," "Tax," and various business categories increases efficiency. Another method is to divide physical files by importance so if documents need to be removed in case of emergency, the most necessary pieces are quickly available.
Discarding files is also a great method for organizing documents because it keeps both the electronic and physical file collection from taking up too much space. A general rule is that all tax documents should be kept at least three years. Hold onto complicated tax documents, like audit information and self-employed paperwork, for six years. Other items, however, should be kept forever, like social security cards, birth certificates and marriage certificates.