It’s easy to hang on to receipts, mail, documents and other records thinking that at some point in time you’ll need them. But clutter is one of the key drivers of inefficiency. The end of the year is the perfect time to invest some energy into reducing the amount of paper that has accumulated in your office. The process starts with a plan and a few key steps to get back to organization and order.
- Determine what you need to keep – There are basic guidelines for records retention, but a good practice is to hang on to records for no more than three years. Of course, certain records like wills, birth and marriage certificates, and vehicle titles should be retained and kept in a fire and water proof secure location.
- Sort, file and shred – Find a record-keeping system that works for you and organizes what you have to keep, where and how it should be stored, and what should be shredded or destroyed. Evaluating the importance of a record determines how it should be handled.
- Don’t be afraid to purge every few years – Organizing your records is the first step in making it easier to periodically review what you can get rid of. Once you’ve done that, make sure you take the time to throw out or shred sensitive records that have gone past their relevant date for keeping them.
Get a head start on your New Year’s resolutions and start 2015 with a commitment to organization. You’ll not only save time but your office will look a lot cleaner!
Photo by Jinx!