Paperwork: Then and Now

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Paperwork: Then and Now

Since the Internet boom, everything relating to paper storage has changed. When you’re used to filing “the old” way, it’s difficult to wrap your head around a new process. We assure you, however, the new basic systems of organization will make your life easier and less cluttered (and bring you into this century!). Here are some simple steps to update your tech-savvy.

Receipts
Then: Save paper receipts for everything to keep track of expenses. Match receipts with credit card and debit card statements.
Now: When ordering online, only save the electronic receipt. Create a receipts folder on your computer and save them there. Continue to  file paper receipts for big ticket items, such as home and car maintenance receipts, in a filing cabinet.

Bills
Then: Wait for bills to come in the mail, then write a check and send it back via snail mail.
Now: Pay bills electronically through your bank or through each individual vendor’s Web site. Most vendors these days can bill you electronically, as well.

Important dates
Then: Write birthdays and anniversaries on a paper calendar year after year.
Now: Use an electronic calender/task manager on your computer or a free online reminder service, such as www.birthdayalarm.com, to keep up with these important dates.

Passwords
Then: Write them down in a notebook or address book, and inevitably lose them.
Now: There are too many to count or remember. Track them in a Word document or spreadsheet.

Personal documents
Before: Make a filing system to store your important documents.
Now: Receive electronically or scan them in and save them on discs or store with an online backup service, such as www.mozy.com. You still want to keep hard copies of legal and insurance papers in a fire-proof or safety deposit box.

 

School Papers

We didn’t get nearly as much paper when we were kids. Children get so much paper these days it requires some serious organization—purge backpacks weekly. Use an open file box with hanging files to create an easy-to-reach storage area.

For help on what to keep and what to chuck, see the checklist below.

What to File

➤    Graded papers
➤    School information
➤    Activities and clubs
➤    Class notes—by subject, one per hanging file
➤    Papers for parents
➤    Awards and certificates
➤    Use a larger box for artwork (an under-the-bed box works well)

What to Throw Out

➤    Keep art and keepsakes to a minimum—save about 10-20 items per year per child
➤    Graded papers after the report cards come home

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