Many of the items I keep in my filing cabinet are time sensitive. Tax receipts, pay stubs and bank statements are all examples of this type of item. Here is how to keep these things in order and on a rotating purge schedule, so that you never end up having to do a massive clean out.
Determine What You Need to Keep
What you keep will be entirely up to you, but you don’t want to fall into the trap of keeping everything. Your accountant can provide a list of documents you need to keep for tax purposes, and other documents will be kept according to your need.
I keep the following documents: pay stubs, credit card statements, bank statements, health bills and insurance statements, and back copies of a newsletter I need for reference.
Determine How Long to Keep It
Again, your accountant can help determine how long to keep things that have to do with money. Other items can be kept as long as they are useful to you. For my back copies of the newsletter, I keep six months, for the information isn’t useful beyond that.
Set Up Your Files
In whatever way you file, set up one folder for each type of information. Discard anything beyond the life of the document, and then file them in date order, with the oldest in the back of the folder, the most recent in the front.
Do Your Purge
Now, every time a new document comes in, file it in the front of the folder and remove one from the back for shredding.
In this way, I apply little and often to keep my filing under control.
Photo by iBjorn