How much time and energy do you spend searching for an important document in your home that wasn’t where you thought it should be? When planning a move, it is essential to know how to organize important papers before packing everything, especially if you are relocating to a new state. Those documents that are no longer needed can be shredded before moving and packing, but there are items you have to keep for a while, which means you have to carry them along. If you create a sustainable system, it can be easier than it may seem at first.
While making a packing schedule, make sure you keep track of all the documentation that you need to gather. The best way to organize each document is to buy a filing cabinet, a hanging file box, or create a moving binder with tab inserts. You can use color markers to differentiate each document by type for easier access. The tricky part is gathering them in one place and making a selection of what should be discarded and what has to be kept. But, if you create several piles and organize them by type, it shouldn’t be that hard.
Since we tend to put each document in a different place, locating all of them before getting moving services can be difficult. So check all the drawers, tables, bags, and other places where you used to put any paper or document “for now”. Find a table in your home where you can create piles of paperwork according to type, or simply put them on the floor. You can start sorting them as you gather them to facilitate the process. Finish the job without getting distracted by other tasks. That way, each vital paper will be stored in one place and available if needed.
If you want to avoid spending money on ready-made filing boxes or professional storage, there are many ways to create free, DIY storage for anything. You can use your imagination to make DIY boxes out of cardboard and folders out of paper or use plastic bins instead of a filing cabinet.
If you keep each item in a file folder rack, you can secure it with plastic wrap and just place it in a moving box. The same applies to binders. A bonus benefit is that you will be recycling old materials and taking care of the environment. However, make sure you don’t keep anything important in your furniture because it might get lost during the move.
There are many creative storage ideas you can use. You can create color-coded binders yourself by using old small-sized boxes which you can label with color stickers. Regular boxes can be converted into filing cabinets if you divide them into several parts with cardboard cut on one side for easier access to each document.
The best system is to divide all the paperwork into two basic categories, Current and Old – which can later be divided into more subcategories according to type. Any current paper must be easily available, while old ones can be placed somewhere for future reference if needed.
The archive should contain the most important paperwork, such as:
Put them separately in labeled folders which you will place in a box or a binder. Arrange them by dates so that the new ones are in the front.
The folders should be labeled according to basic categories, such as:
● Real Estate
When sorted into these categories, it’s best to keep them arranged in alphabetical order. The ID file should be placed in the front because you might need your passport, social security card and birth certificate/marriage license more often. In fact, given the importance of each document, you can store them in a security box.
You should find the best way of categorizing if you want to manage your paperwork easily. Here’s an example:
Another way of categorization can be:
You should separate things that are difficult to replace and that contain sensitive information, such as insurance policies, wills, deeds, agreements, social security documents, birth certificates, etc. Perhaps it is best to store them in a fireproof safe or a safety deposit box but create a reference list first.
You should review each document you have a few times a year to see if any of them are outdated and should be discarded.
These would be expired insurance records, monthly mortgage statements, checkbook ledgers, paycheck stubs, and similar.
Usually, those are bank statements, canceled checks, unemployment income stubs, medical bills or claims, taxable receipts, and so on.
The most important ones are those you need to keep forever. Those include:
Additionally, any legal document should be retained indefinitely, in a separate box. Among those are:
Make sure you keep all academic documentation near if you or your family member will head off to college soon.
Documentation that has expired should be discarded, but ensure that the ones containing your personal information are shredded first.
It might be wise to create copies of each personal document – health insurance card, driver’s license, credit and debit cards, among others, and keep them along with any other vital document.
The point of organizing is to gain easier access to each document when needed. That is why you should figure out a way of labeling which will be simple to handle. Use colors and labels for better reviewing. You can also scan each document and save them on a hard drive.