File organizaton isn't the most glamorous task, but with the right technique you can get your files organized and have more time for the things you love. And to get you the file organization tips you need, Meghan Carter of http://www.AsktheDecorator.com visited the organization expert at White Space.
Meghan: File organizations is one of those dreaded tasks, but with our use of color and commitment of urging Masters Simplifier and owner White Space Cynthia Ivie makes it seem like fun. All right, that maybe an exaggeration. But when you realize how easy it is to find document with their method you will become a file organization believer. I am hitting the road, searching for answers and finding great design. It is a quest for beauty, function and of course, inspiration. Cynthia: We color code files at White Space and you will notice right down here in this door, are projects that are of immediate processing. Meghan: Yes. Cynthia: So here we have clients. Again, you see a reflection of this contacted pending and in progress, then business development projects, marketing and then reviews in prospects. This desk belongs to person who works with me on business development but also handles hiring. So these are her top priority issues that she is dealing with this week. And she keeps them down here and they are separated by color, so she can do immediate storing, sort. Meghan: So, for somebody in their home, this is good because this could be cars, home mortgage stuff, kid’s school, health insurance and by color you can go through what financial things you have to address. Cynthia: Right. The way that we prefer to setup files just as for clients in the home, we do use color as sort but we use it for topical sort. So, for example—and it is based on biofeedback. Green is a color that we all equate with money. Meghan: Right. Cynthia: And so green folders relate to everything financial. And within that, then it is alphabetical, so auto, your autos are second major purchase that you make in life, banking, credit, housing, insurance, investments, legal mortgage, taxes, things like that are all in green. Things related to the family or to the home, we tend to put in red because those are matters of the heart. Things that are related to your career, education we put in blue. Blue is the color of career or education. Meghan: Scholarship. Cynthia: Scholarship. Hobbies or passions go in purple because purple is a color that people are usually passionate about. And then health and vitality is signified by orange. Meghan: Yes. Cynthia: And so we setup all of the folders like that for families in their home. And we have even helped business color code according to projects based upon their need to access information quickly. The biggest mistake people make is keeping too much paper. Absolutely, and paper the information on that paper is only as valuable as you are ability to access that when you need it quickly. Meghan: That is true. So, do you have to purge just this everything else? Cynthia: Yes. And there are records attaching guidelines we have a very aggressive records attaching guideline at White Space. The IRS has three years to issue an audit from the date of filing at your current on your taxes. So we really recommend purging, everything but the tax returns after three years old. There are other documents that needs to be kept it longer obviously deeds, marriage, licenses, divorce, decrees— Meghan: Birth certificates. Cynthia: Birth certificates, wills, social security cards, things like that. But if you talk with your accountant or your attorney, they can tell you can easily reach a comfort level with your record retention policy at the home. But again people jus—they need to learn to travel, like when it comes to filing. There is no reason to have a storage budget that rivals the Pentagons for storing all the documents of your life. And we encourage people to really thin up their paper so that the essential things are easy to access when they need them. Meghan: So then for bill paying is there a system to get that down? Cynthia: We have a bills to pay and a bills paid folder. We do recommends setting everyone up on electronic payments. It is easy. It is secured. It is a safe way to go. It eliminates that paper trail that so many thieves rely on. For identity theft today, in the State of Illinois, identity theft went