Essential Year-End Records Management Projects

In December 30, 2014

As the end of the year approaches, quite likely you are focused on that big holiday gathering or perhaps a party to ring in the New Year. Make sure you save plenty of time for both of these in your schedule, but there’s something else on which you should also focus — records management of your important documents. The end of each physical year is the perfect time to get all of these documents organized and ready to be handled as necessary. Here are a few document-related projects to help you prepare for a brand new year!

Destroy – Some documents and paperwork you have on hand may need to be destroyed. Old tax records over seven years old, unnecessary paperwork belonging to deceased relatives, or anything with account information on it (like old bills, etc.) should be destroyed rather than just thrown away. Shredding these items is an easy way to handle this, or you may be able to burn them if you have the proper area and/or permits to do this safely. You could even contact a document shredding firm and have it done for you if there’s too much to do yourself.

Dispose – The next task is to dispose of paperwork that does not need destroying. Are you holding on to receipts from years past, magazines or catalogues? It’s time to recycle or toss these  and get a fresh new start. Just make sure you are destroying any identifying areas (such as address labels and/or credit card numbers) and not tossing something that you may need for taxes!

Organize – The paperwork you do keep should be organized, to help prevent any stress later on when you need these documents. Come up with a filing system that allows you to access these forms easily when you need them—instead of requiring you to look through piles and piles of paperwork to find the one piece you need.

Store (Online) – Online storage can be an easy way to organize paperwork too. While it is not appropriate for every document, especially those with personal information, there are a number of items that are ideal for storing using this method. Scanning your papers into digital files frees up “real” space and makes it easier to find that information when you need it.

Order – Are you missing any important documentation? Now is the time to order additional copies of paperwork you may need for taxes, registration or travel. It is easier than ever before to request a birth certificate, marriage certificates or other documents securely online. Then you’ll have these papers ready to go when you need them—instead of stressing over it when the need arises.

As you can see, there are a number of tasks to get “document-ready” for the year ahead. So between the holiday dinner and the caroling, make time to get your important documents organized as necessary. You’ll appreciate the effort you took for the entire year ahead!

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