Most of my clients dread paperwork and taxes — it’s very time consuming and tedious if you have years of back log. Taking it one step at a time, whether with a professional organizer or on your own, is key in making a long term change.
Collect Your Papers
Collect loose invoices, receipts, and mail lying around the house or in your office and put it in a basket. Do this quickly without assessing each item. Trying to figure it out at this stage of the game makes organizing draining and daunting.
Sort Into Piles
Sort your paperwork into simple categories. Do this quickly and try to avoid getting stuck on whether or not you need to keep an item. Some example categories are: bills/invoices, banking, credit cards, reference, documents.
Search and Shred
Now comes the fun part! Let go of items that were “to do’s” that have expired, like flyers to an event or articles that you wanted to read and never got to.
If you are in a time crunch, start with the piles that have to do with your current tax year, like bills, invoices, and banking.
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have ALL of your paperwork in one place. Even items that are urgent or need to be accessed often need to stay together, instead of on the counter to ‘remind’ you to do them. This keeps you focused and clears paperwork clutter on surfaces.
Keep Your System Simple
I always create two folders for my clients to keep at the front of their filing systems:
To file – items that need to be put away
To do / Action – items that need to be addressed
These folders create a space to put paperwork “in transition” when you don’t have the time to address it, or put it away. When you make the time to do paperwork, everything is in one place.
Lastly, don’t wait until the last minute!
Start organizing your paperwork now, so when it’s tax time you are ready to go and more prepared for 2017!