How to organise important documents

how-to-organise-important-documentsWe have all sorts of important documents in our lives which need to be kept in case we need to use them in the future. The problem with this is that it could be easy to let them pile up in chaotic heaps, which I’m sure you don’t want! If you let this happen then not only will this look messy but you also won’t be able to find anything in a hurry if you were to need it. In this blog post I will suggest how you could organise these so that you don’t have to live surrounded by piles of paper anymore.

Find somewhere to keep them

It sounds obvious but if you don’t have anywhere to keep important documents then it will be easy to let them build up and become unmanageable. Instead, find somewhere to store them. This could be in a filing cabinet, a desk, or in folders. I keep important documents in two accordion folders (the type of folders that open out and have lots of different sections inside them). I have one for school/ university related things like exam certificates and student finance paperwork and one for everything else. This is stuff like bank statements, payslips, and DBS and First Aid certificates etc.. You basically need to find somewhere where they will be safe, and out of the way but still easy to access when you need to. It should also be somewhere that you can divide up into different sections.

Decide what categories you need

Once you have found somewhere suitable, you need to decide what different categories you need. This will be different for everyone but try to think about the different areas of your life that require paperwork and have a section for each of these. For example, some of my categories include a section for each bank account and a section for payslips. You might need other categories, such as a place to keep documents related to children, pets, or insurance etc.. Make sure that the categories you end up with mean that everything will have a place (try to avoid an ‘other’ category!) and they are well enough divided that you will be able to quickly and easily find anything you need.

Make sure to file documents quickly

No matter how great your categories are, having a system like this only works if you actually use it. When you get paperwork try to file it straight away or have a system like putting it all in a box and dealing with it once a week etc.. You just need to make sure that everything ends up in the right place quickly and doesn’t get lost so you don’t have any more random piles lying around. Only keep what you need – you don’t need to keep all the envelopes things come in, for example. For things which are multiple pages I like to staple them together to keep them more oragnised. Make sure that when you file things away that they go in chronological order within their section which will make it even easier to find what you need in the future.

If some of your documents are only online like bank statements or payslips and you want to print them, have a system for doing this. You could make a note in your diary to print them each month, for example. What I like to do with my payslips which are online is to use receiving one of my bank statements in the post as a reminder to log on and print out my payslip for that month. This means that I keep up-to-date with this and have them to hand if I ever need them.

Know how long to keep things for

You don’t always need to keep everything forever so find out how long the different documents you have need to be kept for and get rid of them after this point. For example, do you really need the receipts from a washing machine that you no longer own? By doing this you will stop paperwork from building up and will have more room the the things you actually need.


I hope you found this post helpful – leave a comment to let me know how you like to organise important documents 🙂

Ellen Allsop

Hello! I'm Ellen Allsop, the creator of EAsy :)

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