Organizing Important Documents

Did you know that people, on average, spend about one year of their lives searching for lost items? That means they spend over 8,000 hours looking for their keys, wallet, and important documents.

Is this statistic not surprising to you? Do you have piles of bills, paystubs, and mail stacked a mile high and scattered about your house? Do you desperately need to get organized but have no idea where to start?

Look no further! Check out 3 expert tips for organizing important documents.

Tips For Organizing Important Documents

1. Gather All Documents

First and foremost, you must gather all the documents and paperwork that have been around your house for ages. Grab your bills, medical documents, bank statements, pay stubs, tax documents, mortgage documents, receipts, and much more.

It is important that you grab anything and everything– even junk mail. The goal is to get organized and that may mean tossing out some documents. 

2. Sort The Documents

Now that you have all your documents together, it’s time to sort through them and put them into 4 different categories.
  • Vital Documents – This will include your birth certificate, marriage certificate, social security cards, passports, wills, deed, insurance information, and any other legal documents. These are extremely important documents that would be difficult and time-consuming to replace if lost.
  • Important Documents – this is going to be for your documents that need be kept for long-term storage. This includes your W2s, tax returns, tax receipts, loan documents, business documents, annual bank statements, and medical information.
  • Short-term Documents – This will be for documents that you only need to keep for a few months to a year. This includes your recent bills, monthly bank statements, store receipts, and credit card statements.
  • Trash – This pile is going to be for anything that can be tossed out or shredded. This includes junk mail, expired warranties, old bills (more than a year), and old receipts that are no longer needed. 

3. Store Your Documents

You have 4 massive piles of documents. Now what?

It’s time to get them to put away in an organized manner!

For your vital documents, you’ll want to place them in a safe, secure location such as a fire-proof safe. Since these contain documents such as your birth certificate and social security card, you will want to make sure they can’t be stolen or destroyed in a fire or natural disaster. Keeping them locked in a safe will help you from having your identity stolen.

For the important documents and short-term documents, it’s best to store these in a file cabinet, using a filing system. In separate sections of the filing cabinet, further, organize both the important papers and short-term documents by creating folders.

Each folder should be categorized into sections such as financial, home, health, work, and more. Label the folders so it’ll be easy to locate what you need and to add more documents later.

If you’re not a fan of physical storage, there are also many options for digital storage. You could scan your documents and store it in a virtual dropbox or cloud storage service.

Another great option for storing financial documents online is You can use this site to create PDF copies of your paystubs. This means you won’t have to physically store countless paystubs for years at a time. Instead, you can grab any of them off your computer at any time. 

Get Organized

Organizing important documents can literally save you hours and hours of your life. No longer do you have to put off doing your taxes till the very last minute simply because you can’t find half the documents required.

You no longer have to scramble to find your birth certificate and social security card when you start a new job. Instead, with these great tips, you can finally live an organized life.

If you’re interested in learning other expert tips or advice, check out our blog here.