Organizing Paperwork

Paperwork on a cluttered desk

Let’s Talk Paper! With the holiday season safely behind us, March is the best time of year to get all of our paperwork in order. These three things will help get you in ship shape: catch up on filing, clear out old files, and prepare documents for the tax season.

Filing: If you currently don’t have a filing system, we love the File Solutions system for its ease of use. It provides color coded and alphabetized categories that meet every family’s needs. Keep incoming mail near where you pay bills and if possible pay bills near the filing cabinet. File as soon as you have paid the bill or handled the medical statement or receipt. But if you have fallen behind, and would like support, we can help you tackle it!

Clearing out old files: As you file away statements, receipts and bills, pull out and shred last year’s utility bills, credit card statements, bank statements, monthly mortgage statements (not the year-end summary), cancelled checks and pay stubs. Go online and see if your bank or credit card provides a paperless statement option. This is a sure way to reduce filing and clutter! It is also time to shred or recycle old receipts, holiday catalogues and magazines. Still have holiday cards hanging around? It’s time for them to go. As you file and clear out last year’s documents keep an eye out for tax related items. If you are not sure about a particular document, ask your accountant or financial advisor.

Preparing for tax season: Starting in January, employers, banks and financial companies begin mailing tax related documents. Sometimes these arrive in innocuous looking white envelopes. As you open these envelopes file the documents all together in a folder called “current year taxes.” Include charitable donation receipts and any other receipts you may need as proof for deductions. This way, you will have all your ducks in a row and be ready to file your taxes on time.