As a new adult, I have a ton of important papers and documents now: housing payments, paystubs, bills, records, etc.. Thankfully, I have a filing box and I love to organize things! So, here are a few tips to help you organize your files!
1) College Work
If you are still a young adult and have gone to college, or other training/technical schools, it is important to keep a few of your projects, tests, and essays. These are good to keep as you are searching for jobs or applying for graduate programs because it shows your capability in your subject and are a good example of your work. Although I have all of my projects and essays saved on my computer and have a steady job, I still have a few hard copy for keepsakes.
2) Job Contracts, Paystubs, etc.
If you receive a copy of your jobs contract, keep it, as well as a copy of any other paperwork you have to fill out for your job. Keep this for the entirety that you hold the job. Any certificates or other important documents you receive from your job go into this file as well. If you get paper copies of your paystubs, even if you also have direct deposit, I would keep those copies–a friend of mine actually had an issue with a paycheck (she was paid less than she earned, and that helped her to prove it). Keep those until you file taxes each year. You can keep retirement documents here, too, or in their own file.
Keep a copy of your housing contract for as long as you rent/own that house. Keep housing payments for a year.
4) Checks, Receipts, Payments, Bills
If you have extra checkbooks, keep them in this file. Now, some people keep every single receipt from every single purchase (like my mom) and some people never want a receipt (like my husband). I feel that if you purchased something huge, or are considering returning something, keep the receipt for at least a month. If you purchase something that you have to do numerous payments for, keep each statement until it is completely paid off. Same goes for monthly bills.
Keep W-2s and other tax information and documents for a minimum of 2 years (you might need information from the previous fiscal year). Though, the IRS suggests keeping these documents for 7 years on the off-chance of being audited by them…..
6) Health Insurance and Bills
Each member of the family should have their own file for health, dental, eye, and life insurance. Keep bills for a year–make a note on the bill when you paid for them, how you paid for them, etc. Keep other important health information in these folders. In my folder, I have my prescription for my eyesight. In Justin’s, we have info about the medication he uses. In Rhys’s, we still have his birth packet and his immunizations records.
7) Important Documents
In this file, I have birth records, marriage licenses, etc. I also have my teacher’s license and my college degree in this folder. Keep these forever! But, do not keep your social security cards here!!!!! Find a different, secret place for those!
If you are planning on getting married, or have recently gotten married and still have a lot of keepsakes, keep them in this folder. If you are planning a wedding, all payments and contracts with wedding cake, caterers, venue, etc., can go in here. After the wedding, your guest list and book, pictures, and sentimental cards can go in here.
This is kind of an amalgamation of a file. Sentimental letters, cards, memories. Things you want to keep and remember go in here. Keep these as long as you want.
My other folders
Creative–Different poems or short stories I’ve written are in here.
Playbills–I collect playbills from concerts, plays, and musicals I go to.
Posters–I used to have a subscription to The National Geographic and they would send posters, so I kept those in here, too.
As a family of two years, with only an infant, no debt, newly graduated, just starting jobs, and renting a house, we don’t have a lot documents, so we are able to keep everything in small file box. My parents have a few filing shelves. It just depends. But, hopefully, these tips will help keep you more organized and less cluttered. Just remember to update your files about every month!
How do you organize your important documents?