I am constantly being asked, “What should I do with all of my paper?” It is usually the biggest challenge for most people.

Since there is a very good chance you are working on your taxes right now (if you are done – way to go!) I thought this would be a great time to focus on filing. This is an opportune time to get rid of outdated documents by going through your old papers.

I must preface by saying I am an Organizing Expert, I am not an accountant or an attorney. These are systems that have proven useful for my clients and for myself. If in doubt, please contact your accountant or attorney for further professional advice.

Archive files are files that you rarely need to access. These files do not need to be in your office or in close proximity. They could be kept in the garage up in the rafters, in the attic or in the basement. They can be stored in a file cabinet, plastic file boxes, or corrugated bankers boxes. Whatever you decide to use be consistent and use the same kind. Doing this makes it easy for storage purposes and you will utilize your space efficiently.

Go through all of your files once a year. I like to do it at the end of the year, typically the week between Christmas and New Years. The reason to go through your files annually is get rid of the old and make room for the new.

Be very choosey on what you keep and remember most of this stuff will never be used again!

Some examples of what may be considered to include in archive files:

  • Annual tax returns and supporting documentation  – keep 7 years
  • Audit reports – keep forever
  • Year-end financial summary statements – once you have received the year-end statement compare to your quarterly statements. Assuming you approve the statements, shred the quarterly statements.  Keep with your tax records
  • Bank statements – Keep only if needed to prove deductions with your tax records
  • Credit card statements – keep only if needed to prove deductions with your tax records
  • Receipts – keep only if needed to prove deductions with your tax records
  • Loan documentation – can get rid of once the loan is paid off
  • Mortgage documents – as long as you own the home
  • Receipts for home improvement/home repair records – as long as you own the home
  • Receipts and warranties for any big-ticket items  – keep the life of the product
  • Memorabilia – be reasonable here.  This category can get out of control really fast. Assign one bin per family member. When the bin gets full, something has to be removed before something else goes in. Do not have multiple bins per family member!
  • Personal health records – keep indefinitely. Purge as necessary

I will write about other kinds of files in future blogs.

Happy Filing,

I absolutely love what I do. I live a pretty great life and I am surrounded by people who love me and support me.

I have the opportunity to truly change people’s lives through the work that I do, I absolutely love being a Lifestyle Manager. I am very passionate about helping people live more organized lives, be more productive at work and feel confident that their home is being managed properly. It brings me such great joy when I am helping someone learn to live a less stressful life by letting go and taking back control of their surroundings.

I am here to serve my clients, I am here to help make their lives better and I work hard to build a relationship of trust and respect.

Are you ready to finally stop with all of the excuses?  Are you ready to get serious about reaching your lifestyle goals?  If you think you’re ready to break through whatever it is that has been holding you back then let’s chat.  Click here to get in touch with me.

I want you to love, love, love your surroundings!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Did you know that the month of February is Canned Food Month?

There are so many people in need.  You can help someone less fortunate by donating canned food to your local food bank.

There are plenty of places that will gladly accept your non-perishable items.  Your donation will help put a meal on someone’s table, how great is that!

Perhaps you are willing to organize a food drive at your place of worship, your school or at your work.

If you have non-perishable food in your pantry at home that you know you are not going to eat, don’t just let it sit there and eventually expire – why not donate it to someone who will put it to good use?  Plus you are clearing out space in your own home!

Some ideas to get you started:

  • You could make it a competition to see who gathers the most food.
  • You could get your neighbors involved, a quick way to gather a lot of food!
  • If you have recently lost weight you could donate the amount lost in food.  For example, if you lost 20 pounds you could donate 20 pounds of food.
  • You can also donate money or your time.

I suggest searching the directory of food banks and more to find a location near you at FoodPantries.org.

Thank you for your generosity,