Does the thought of legal paperwork in your home scare you? Are you worried that you will lose them or they get damaged in some way?
Don’t panic, let’s learn how to organize legal paperwork in our homes so that it’s protected as much as possible from potential damage.
There are different types of paperwork that you need to store at home, I’m talking about those items that you need to keep safe like your birth certificate, marriage license, even the deeds to your home.
Legal Paperwork In Your Home
What you need to think about is your document management system that you have in place or one that you are going to consider creating in the very near future.
It will depend on where you live as to the paperwork that you need to keep, which is why it’s a good idea to contact a lawyer if you are uncertain about any aspect of your legal documents and the ones you need to keep safe.
Paper Organization At Home
As with many families, paper can become a big problem, however, with modern technology it doesn’t have to take over your home any longer.
A lot of people now store a lot of household paperwork digitally. For example I don’t get bank statements sent to my home, they are stored on the app, and I can access them and download them to my computer if I need to.
This is the same with other utility bills including credit cards, and other bills associated with living in my home.
If you want more information on this topic and to look at alternatives to storing paperwork in filing cabinets then the best way is to read my article: Simple And Easy Tips To Organize Your Paperwork.
Where To Store Legal Paperwork
When it comes to paperwork storage you need to think about the space in your home and how accessible you will need this storage to be.
Are you just going to store important papers there or are you planning on storing more paper files that you have in your home that you haven’t moved to digital storage?
You need to consider the type of storage that you want to have in your home, here are some suggestions of paper storage:
- Filing cabinets, these are not as popular as they once were due to storing more documentation online rather than in paper format.
- Fire and waterproof portable safe, this is great to have if you have to evacuate and you can easily grab this safe and go.
- Fire and waterproof safe that is not portable. You can’t move it as it will be attached to a secure space in your home. The problem with this is that it might not be an easy access if you needed an item quickly.
- File folder, not the most secure of options, but if budget is limited you do what is best for you.
Choosing The Right Organization System For You
Let’s look at these options and go over in more detail the options that are available and what you need to look out for when it comes to buying these products.
We had a filing cabinet for many years to store the paperwork that came into our home. It was great when we moved, we did that a lot when my husband was in the military. We could lock our paperwork up and not have to worry about losing anything in the move.
However, in the last few years the paperwork that comes into our home is less important and we don’t need a filing cabinet. It’s a waste of space in our home. We have more digital documents and we don’t need files and files of paper.
When you think of these they need to be small enough for you to be able to carry it. So, the idea is to keep specific documents only in this safe that you might require to prove the identity of you or family members. For example marriage certificate, birth certificate or even a death certificate.
Passports and other identifying documents are also important legal documents that you will want to keep secure.
This type of safe isn’t going to move and if you live in an area that has extreme weather conditions this might be the option you consider as you can attach it to your home in a place that is going to survive a natural disaster. But you might keep more in this safe than one you carry around.
For example, you might want to keep an emergency cash supply so you are able to buy food until you can find a bank or cash machine in working order.
If you have more paperwork at home and are still to adopt the digital age, then you might still use file folders. I would use a separate folder for the emergency items that you will need if you need to leave your home quickly.
It would be something you could grab and have it all available in one go.
What Else Should You Store
It is now so much easier with the internet and cloud storage that we don’t need much actual paperwork to look after.
In the past you would need to keep details of your current policies for your house insurance, car insurance and even medical records . What’s great is that you can now store on the cloud and this means you don’t need so many pieces of paper that can be damaged.
However, it does mean that you will have to have a secure place to store your online documentation and always have a backup of the documents stored off the cloud. It’s a great idea to have an external hard-drive and make a backup at least once a month of the files that you secure over the internet.
I used to include a list of the valuables that I had in my home along with receipts in case anything happened, I don’t do that any more, receipts are online and any information about goods and valuables in my home are recorded and stored on the cloud, making any potential insurance claim easier.
The main thing you need to do is ensure that someone knows how to access this information if anything was to happen to you.
Piles Of Paperwork?
Do you have piles of paperwork, that somewhere in amongst all of this is your important legal documents? Paper organization is going to be the key to keeping personal documents safe.
If you are going to continue having a paper based filing system you need to create a separate folder for each category and sort your current paperwork into the correct file.
When you get to legal documents you are going to create legal files for these documents so they are easy to find when you need them in the future.
Check out my article Simple And Easy Tips To Organize Your Paperwork
Going Digital With Paperwork
It is something that you should consider, it’s easy and it means that you have less to store at home. However, you can’t scan your passport and get rid of that, you will still need some legal paperwork that you will need to keep safe at home.
If you do decide to go digital you must think of the security of the site that you are using for storing this information on.
If you are just storing information on computer files then you must have a backup somewhere and you must have some sort of computer protection to ensure that your paperwork is in a safe place and is not going to get stolen by thieves.
My friends Donny and Abby have an amazing course that will take you through the process of going digital and getting rid of the paper clutter in your home.
Simple Tips To Taking Action
Have a standard set of rules that you follow when it comes to organizing and storing your legal paperwork. If it’s in your home office make sure that it’s safe and personal information that you don’t want stolen isn’t easily obtained.
If you have insurance policies consider getting these via email and just store them on the cloud so they can be easily found rather than digging through piles of paperwork.
Think about your paper storage and invest in the right storage for you, it could be file cabinets, plastic bins, accordion files, just make sure that it’s an effective way for you and it gives you peace of mind knowing that you are able to easily find important information.
There is nothing worse than being in a stressful moment looking for important paperwork that you can’t find anywhere, not only does this cause tension it can also cost you money.
When it comes to legal documents they are important and you need to be able to store these safely in your home.
Think about the type of storage you want to use and consider if you need to buy more appropriate storage for the legal documents that you hold in your home.
Consider going paperless in your home for other types of bills and paperwork, check here for the best tips for going paperless in your home.Take action today to organize all your legal paperwork at home.