Organizing your mail and important documents is not the most fun way to spend your free time. But come tax season, you will be so grateful that you took the time to do it in the months leading up to this crucial period. Organizing your paperwork is not just about making everything look neat. In the end, it will help you to remain sane, knowing that all your affairs are in order.
Do a Little at a Time
If you view organizing your entire apartment as one giant, impossible task, it will never get done. Instead, devote 15-30 minutes every other day to ONE section of your apartment. Junk drawers, desks, coffee tables and nightstands are areas where paperwork and mail tend to accumulate the most. Organize one per day and you will be done within a week. It’s so much less overwhelming this way.
Designate a Makeshift Office Space
If your incoming mail and other paperwork is scattered all over your apartment, you are almost certain to misplace something important eventually. Do not let that happen. If you don’t have an entire room to dedicate to all your random paperwork, you can at least have a small dedicated spot. Think of it as a command center. In a small apartment, this might have to be a corner or surface in your kitchen, living room or bedroom. A single basket or tray should do for keeping your important mail, bills, receipts and invoices in one spot. Perhaps a paper shredder might come in handy, too. Come tax time, all you have to do is grab and go. If super meticulous record-keeping is not your cup of tea, this really is the easiest way to go.
If a heaping pile of papers is enough to trigger an anxiety attack, why not use one of your many gadgets to keep things in order? There are plenty of free and paid apps that allow you to keep track of all your tax related affairs. For example, if you need to track a lot of receipts, there are apps that allow you to scan or snap photos of your receipts and file them digitally. The digital route is also ideal for tracking expenses, meetings and email communications. Easy peasy!
Cut the Unnecessary Clutter
Are you one of those people who hold onto every single utility bill and invoice “just in case”? Stop. While it is great to be super careful, seriously, how many times have you ever needed to refer to that two-year-old cell phone bill? If you have not done so already, sign up for online access to all your accounts. That way you can digitally access a history of every invoice you’ve been billed and every payment you have ever made. If you absolutely must keep a personal record of your bills, just save them to your computer or to the cloud instead of holding on to hard copies.
Special Care for Sensitive Documents
If you are holding onto any documents considered sensitive or confidential, you might need a completely different filing system for those. Wills, deeds, bond certificates, investment records, tax returns and legal documents are just some of the types of paperwork that need extra protection. First, it is always a smart idea to make extra copies of these documents just in case the originals are ever lost or destroyed. Place one set in a fire-resistant safe that is only accessible with a key or fingerprint ID. The other set can be kept in a bank safe deposit box, or at a trusted relative’s home.
Now, once you’ve taken the time to get your apartment organized once and for all, how the heck do you keep it that way? One unique thing to do is to invite guests over–and often. It may sound like a silly idea, but you are more likely to keep your place clean and tidy if you know you are expecting visitors. No one wants company when the house is a mess, right? Keep a steady stream of friends and family coming over and your apartment will always be in tip top shape!
Yes, You Can Have a Home Office in a Teeny Apartment
Organize Your Home with Dollar Store Items
6 Apartment Decor Mistakes to Fix in 2016
Seasonal Cleaning for Your Apartment
How to Declutter Your Apartment
Ideas for Putting an Extra Bedroom to Good Use