Sort your paperwork out!

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Getting your filing in order is a balancing act between keeping documents that matter – bank statements, insurance policies and tax returns – and discarding those that don’t. Here’s how…

Starting is always the hardest part – but you need to start! Gather all loose paperwork together and categorise it broadly into piles. Recycle out of date info and ask yourself what purpose the remaining paperwork serves.

Have a box or file to hand to store items such as recipes and banks statements and set up a ‘rolling declutter’ system to retain what you need & get rid of the rest. Make sure you keep pay and tax records for at least 22 months after the end of the tax year they apply to, if you filed your tax return by the 31 Jan deadline. If you missed it, keep records for at least 15 months after you sent the return.

Then choose a filing system and categorise the documents into things such as; finance (including bank statements & investments); personal (children, cars, and home); vital documents (wills, powers of attorney, house deeds); and health (medical records, health insurance).

Keep things neat & tidy by investing in a paper shredder for sensitive documents and use clear plastic files to keep recipes accessible and clean. For vital paperwork consider renting a secure storage box at Safestore, Big Yellow or Access Self Storage. A good way to save on excess paperwork is to set up paperless bills and bank and card statements online.

Remember the hardest thing is to start when it comes to organising your paperwork and filing system. Once you have started though, you’ll be surprised how easy into get organised…

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