People often tell me that they accumulate piles of paper because their file cabinets are full. In honor of National Archive Your Files Month, take a look at what you’re keeping where.
- Active files are those that you use regularly, for work in progress
- Reference files are those you use less often, to refer back to when you need information
- Archives are for things you probably never look at but need to keep, like old tax files or documents related to the purchase of your house
If your file cabinet can’t take another piece of paper, chances are good that you’re holding on to stuff you don’t need or keeping it in the wrong place.
While you’re sorting tax paperwork, weed through your papers and let go of the ones that have lost their meaning.
Talk to your tax preparer about the documents you need to keep to back up your taxes, as well as how long to keep them. Tax files don’t need to be kept with your daily files. You can box up tax files and put them in a less accessible place like a closet or under a bed.
I recommend a fire- and water-resistant safe for archive files like birth certificates, passports, car titles and home deeds. Rather than having those documents in a safe deposit box at the bank, you can access them more quickly when they’re in your home.
Do you keep your archive files in a separate place from your working files?