Today I share one idea for tackling the dearth of paperwork present in each and every one of our homes.
This is my "long term" storage. I organize my tax records and relevant paperwork for the year in labeled file boxes. These are my favorite file boxes and hold up the best. I label by year, last name or company name (as we are an entreprenurial family).
In one box, the years are combined in one box to save on space. The IRS recommends that we keep personal tax records for 7 years and business records for 10 - just in case of the dreaded audit. Hence the 9 boxes with 1 combined = 10 and notice they fit nicely on this shelf unit...well except for the one on top that is teetering a little.
A friend recently shared that they keep their tax records in folded-over, stapled paperbags. This could be a clever storage idea - except they have 38 bags going back to 1978!
When working with clients, I stress that we must create a system for them to be able to manage their paperwork. The system has just a few rules to remember and as long as one works the system, all will be well.
My system is to take one box a year (the box that is 11 years old) to the annual free "shred day" at a local bank and hand it over to be shredded immediately and confidentially.
True confession: I used to try and shred all the paper in the box myself and instead, I had a broken shredder each year. Don't do this.
This year I was on vacation during free "shred day" so it was time to get creative.
It is rather fun to build a big fire and burn it all! I had to resist the urge to look through all the files though, and despite my best intentions, I did find a couple items to save...
My dog's pedigree. Never mind that he's 11 years old. When he passes away, I'll pitch it.
A spine scan for a family member. I like keeping health records in a folder labeled by person.
I also found our home appraisal from 2007, before the bubble burst...big sigh.
It took a few hours and a large stirring stick, I'm not going to lie. But it was a pleasant evening and a glass of wine made the experience even more enjoyable.
My favorite thing I found?
There's even a few "coupons" in there that I haven't redeemed! He's 21 now and one of the coupons says "get up in the morning". I can't wait to use that one when he's home sleeping in!
But this one is priceless. Hmmmm...maybe I'll use it to have him burn next year's box!
When's the last time you accessed your tax records?
What's your system to keep them manageable.