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  • Filing & Archiving Question

    I have a number of documents that should be kept for Tax Reasons for a period of time, but won't need to refer to them generally.

    I also have manuals on DVD Players, TV's etc, electrical and furniture warranty documents that should be kept, but may not need to refer to them very often.

    What is the best way to handle both these types of documents without making my regularly accessed filing inefficient, but making the documents accessible if and when needed?

    Many Thanks,

    Ross.

  • #2
    Generally all personal reference goes in a central A-Z filing system. But if that's creating more reference than can be kept at swivel distance, you can create a secondary A-Z filing cabinet(s) storage where you store such items, a little away from your table space. (But it creates a possibility of a document being at one of the two places.)

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    • #3
      I echo abhay's comment that all of these things should go into one A-Z general reference system. Multiple filing systems and locations will quickly increase the number of places that something isn't.

      If you have some files to which you refer frequently, you might consider putting them in a vertical file sorter on your desktop, within arms reach. If you use one, make sure you purge it regularly--if you've not used a file within a certain period of time, it goes back into to the filing cabinet.

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      • #4
        For manuals, I have one drawer of my filing cabinet that contains all manuals, software, and reference for things I own.

        When I bring home a new item, the first thing I do is go get a gallon-size (or quart-size, if the item and manuals are tiny) plastic bag. I remove the item and put all CDs, tiny accessories, and manuals into the plastic bag. I label the bag, and it goes into the filing cabinet.

        I wish there was a way to organize it a little better, since the bags are all in a pile on top of each other, but because of the various sizes of accessories, they don't fit neatly into files, and it never takes me more than five minutes to find a manual, anyway.

        I have a milk carton that contains manilla and hanging folders with frequently used-and-updated files, like memos from my credit card company, church documents, etc. I have another filing cabinet drawer for less frequently used items and hobby files, like old writing and credit cards.

        Then I have a binder called "For Emergency Only" that contains a listing of active credit cards, passport, DD-214, marriage license, etc.

        If a fire started in my house, I would grab the For Emergency Only folder, and if I had time, I would grab the milk carton. The old stuff file cabinet can burn.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by rossbale View Post
          I have a number of documents that should be kept for Tax Reasons for a period of time, but won't need to refer to them generally.

          I also have manuals on DVD Players, TV's etc, electrical and furniture warranty documents that should be kept, but may not need to refer to them very often.
          Ross, as others have suggested I keep manuals in one A-Z system, with TV filed either under "TV" or "Sony", etc.

          For my tax documents these are filed as "Taxes - 2007", "Taxes - 2006", etc. The only difference here is that after a few years I move these files out of the A-Z system to a more remote location.

          - Don

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          • #6
            Originally posted by rossbale View Post
            I have a number of documents that should be kept for Tax Reasons ...
            I also have manuals on DVD Players, TV's etc, electrical and furniture warranty documents that should be kept
            I use bankers boxes for the archive files. In addition to tax stuff that has to be kept for 7-10 years I also have federal records that I need for 5-15 years, medical records including what insurance amounts have been used that are needed forever and records of 401k investments that will also be needed for decades or until all the money is used. I keep general receipts for a year or so unless they are for capital improvements and we've done so many of those that just the receipts for that is several boxes worth. Right now the archive files fill up 12 bankers boxes.

            I use an Excel spreadsheet where each file has a row and in the columns I have the box number, file number and contents as well as a destroy by date. I label files in numerical order and put them in whatever box has room. Within a box files are in ascending order. I try to keep the keep forever files together and the shred in a year files together just ot make it easy to purge but it's not critical with a good index. Every year between the Winter Solstice and the end of January I clean out and shred the stuff I can and archive the current years stuff. I do have to refer to them occasionally but I first look up which file/box I need and then can pull it out easily.

            Manuals are slowly being filed into the main reference file section next to my desk. They used to be scattered all over the house. My reference files are three 4 drawer file cabinets of which 10 drawers are the reference files. I also look at and purge the files every year or try to.

            I am in the middle of re-doing the files to be properly labeled and strict a-z filing with 3 exceptions. I have a separate section for my genealogy research files, one for a club I am the secretary of and one for a company I am treasurer of.

            Hope that helps

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            • #7
              I store all documents for each tax year in a plastic tupperware type of container, and they are stacked in the attic by year. No need to fill up a filing cabinet with those.

              For all of my manuals and everything to do with my house, I keep in a storage bin next to my filing cabinets. These manuals and house items take up an entire bin so would not be feasible to store in an A-Z format.

              The idea is not to fit everything in one location, I think the idea is to find a system that works for you that you can access easily without having to think about it. That gives you peace of mind.

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              • #8
                Reference system: Multiple or single? Electronic or paper?

                Originally posted by ellobogrande View Post
                I echo abhay's comment that all of these things should go into one A-Z general reference system. Multiple filing systems and locations will quickly increase the number of places that something isn't.
                Now, I can understand better you are right. Too many reference systems increase the possibilities you cannot find what are you looking for. But I'd like to define better what we are talking about. At the end I can find at least four different filing systems:
                1. Personal Desktop laptop filing system that include all the received emails have to be filed
                2. Paper filing cabinet in the office (include paper document not in an electronic format)
                3. Home filing system
                4. Work group filing system

                Is there the same for you?

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