Simple tips to keep all your paperwork in order

Keeping track of receipts and other paperwork can be a headache, but it's worth the effort if you need to return something or contact the manufacturer. Here are some filing ideas.

Simple tips to keep all your paperwork in order

Check receipts

Check receipts when you buy an expensive item; make sure the receipt clearly states what it is, when, it was brought and where. Write on the receipt any information that isn't clear, for future reference. Staple warranties and guarantees to the receipts.

Buy an accordion file

You can buy an accordion file at an office supply store. Place the file in a convenient location, such as your desk or in the kitchen, then set about labelling the tabs inside.

Do an annual sweep

At the end of each calendar year, look through the entire file and discard what you can.

Use ring binders

  • Ring binders make it easier to keep track of booklets and papers that are too useful to throw out, but often difficult to find.
  • Label the binders and keep them on a shelf in your home office or in another convenient place.
  • Punch holes in the bills, owner's manuals, instructions and store contracts you need to save and slip them into the binders.
  • Use tabbed dividers in different colours, available at office supply stores, to separate categories. The contents will be easy to retrieve and peruse.

Labelled freezer bags

Freezer bags make ideal containers for miscellaneous items like zip drives, manuals and warranties related to computers because they're see-through and dust-proof. Be sure to label them clearly.

Start a while-you-wait task basket

  • Place a basket by your TV chair, by the telephone, in the kitchen or in all these places.
  • In the basket put quick-task items such as recipes or coupons for filing, nonessential mail, clipped articles, etc.
  • This way, you can keep occupied and be productive during a television commercial, while you're on hold or while waiting for the pasta water to boil.

Despite this being the computer age, paper is still king, and difficult to organize. But with a few handy items, and some regular upkeep, you can keep all your important papers on-hand and nearby.

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