Just the thought of tackling a mountain of disordered paperwork is enough to bring most people out in a cold sweat. Months or even years of wilful neglect has resulted in your business or personal documents accumulating in unsightly piles dotted around your home or office. It can be easy to carry on ignoring them but sooner or later you are going to have to deal with them. And, as with most of life’s chores, the sooner you get it done, the better.
It’s more than likely that you have kept these files because they contain important information that you may need at a later date. These documents could range from relatively benign documents such as business cards or sales receipts to very sensitive paperwork such as bank statements or customer details. Failing to organise these documents properly not only makes your home or office space seem untidy and unprofessional, it’s an incredibly inefficient way to access important files as well as a big security risk.
Organising your documents may take a little more time out of your week but the benefits of having an orderly, accessible and secure filing system will make your personal and working life an awful lot easier. In this post, we will share some simple, tried and tested tips that will help even the laziest amongst us conquer their paperwork mountains.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re dealing with documents from work or from home, effective organisation comes down to a system that works best for you. Documents should be stored in folders, divided into categories and ordered in a way that makes the most sense to you.
Below are our tips to help you tackle your paperwork:
Have a clear-out
Once you have gathered all of your paperwork together, go through everything and make a pile of any documents that are useless or out of date. Try to be as selective as you can, as keeping any unnecessary files will take up precious room and make it harder to find documents that you actually need. As most of these files will contain sensitive information, we strongly recommend disposing of them with a shredder to ensure they don’t fall into the wrong hands. Remember to take some time every few months to clear out any documents that may have expired.
Consistency is key
Whatever method you choose to organise your documents in, make sure you are consistent. This especially applies to naming your files and folders, as any inconsistency in categorising them could result in a lot of time wasted looking in the wrong place. Also try to keep your system simple. Some people can get carried away with multi-coloured coding systems and indecipherable subcategories that would give a taxonomist a headache.
Secure your stuff
Organising your documents into a methodical system is only half the battle, now you need to secure them. All of your painstaking work will be in vain if your paperwork is easily accessible to any prying eyes. Filing cabinets are an efficient and secure way to store your documents, either at home or at work. If you intend to keep passports, credit cards, spare keys and other high-risk items in your cabinet then make sure you buy a model that has fortified locks and a security bar. Alternatively, many people, especially businesses, choose to store their documents in professional storage facilities where 24-7 guards and CCTV can provide maximum security.
Digital back up
Despite the encroaching presence of technology on our daily lives, paper files still play an important role…at least for now anyway. It’s therefore a great idea to make digital copies of your paperwork in case anything happens to the physical copies. Scanning your documents and storing them online is also an effective space saving technique, as many of the original paper files can then be destroyed. It’s important to remember that while this may work for some less important files, it’s not appropriate for significant documents such as legal contracts and birth certificates. If you’re unsure about a certain document, always err on the side of caution and keep it until you can research a definitive answer.
For more information on the best ways to store your documents, get in touch with one of our professional storage consultants. You can learn more about our professional document management services, such as our storage, shredding and scanning services, and receive a quote today.