Since the Internet boom, everything relating to paper storage has changed. When you’re accustomed to filing “the old” way, it’s difficult to change to a new system even if it has more benefits. The new basics of what to keep on paper, what to scan, and what to toss will make your life easier and less cluttered (and bring you into this century!). Here are some simple steps to update your tech-savvy.
Then: Save paper receipts for everything to keep track of expenses. Match receipts with credit card and debit card statements.
Now: When ordering online, only save the electronic receipt. Create a receipts folder on your computer and save them there. Continue to file paper receipts for big ticket items, such as home and car maintenance receipts, in a filing cabinet.
Resource: NeatReceipts for scanning the keepers
Then: Wait for bills to come in the mail, then write a check and send it back via snail mail.
Now: Pay bills electronically through your bank or through each individual vendor’s Web site. Most vendors these days can bill you electronically, as well.
Then: Write birthdays and anniversaries on a paper calendar year after year.
Now: Use an electronic calender/task manager on your computer or a free online reminder service, such as www.birthdayalarm.com, to keep up with these important dates.
Resources: Google Calendar, Springpad tasks and reminders
Then: Write them down in a notebook or address book, and inevitably lose them.
Now: There are too many to count or remember. Track them in a Word document or spreadsheet. Or better yet, get a password program that can remember everything for you.
Resources: 1password, keepass
Before: Make a filing system to store your important documents.
Now: Receive electronically or scan them in and save them on discs or store with an online backup service, such as www.mozy.com. You still want to keep hard copies of legal and insurance papers in a fire-proof or safety deposit box.
Children's School Papers
We didn’t get nearly as much paper when we were kids. Children get so much paper these days it requires some serious organization-purge backpacks weekly. Use an open file box with hanging files to create an easy-to-reach storage area. Make one box or file section for each child. Then create a file for each year of school (14 folders: pre-k - 12th grade )in each child's section. When you get something save-worthy, drop it into the file. At the end of the year, toss the stuff that doesn't seem so important any longer.
For help on what to keep and what to chuck, see the checklist below.
What to File:
- Graded papers
- School information
- Activities and clubs
- Class notes-by subject, one per hanging file
- Papers for parents
- Awards and certificates
- Use a larger box for artwork (an under-the-bed box works well)
What to Throw Out:
- Only keep art and keepsakes that are the best of the best. Save about 10-20 items per year per child
- Keep graded papers until the report card comes home, then toss those you don't need as a keepsake.