The Washington Times-Herald

Community News Network

February 7, 2013

How to organize paperwork before tax day

(Continued)

Filing cabinets are available in a variety of styles, sizes and colors, so finding something that fits in your home and matches your decor should be relatively easy. If you truly don't have space for a desk or a filing cabinet, there are plenty of pieces that can do double duty, such as Crate & Barrel's Incognito Compact Office. It looks like an end table but opens to become a desk with a filing drawer.

Only current files should be in your main filing space. Older and permanent documents that need to be kept indefinitely should be stored in plastic filing bins elsewhere in your home. Buy a shredder to dispose of papers containing personal information, and always have extra file folders on hand.

— Consistency matters

Even the best system requires consistent upkeep. Spend time each day putting papers in their proper place instead of allowing them to pile up in the front hall, on the dining room table or on the kitchen counter. You don't need to do actual filing each day, but you do need to open that bank statement and put it with the other items to be filed. Take a few minutes each night to look through your "Needs Action" bin to make sure you're not missing any deadlines.

— Don't try to live up to unattainable standards

Find a system that works for you. It probably won't be the system described in a magazine or one that a friend uses, but it will suit your needs. Real people have "stuff" that is never represented in magazines. What works for a single person won't work for a family of six. And what makes sense for you now will probably be different in five years. If you are one of those people who like to have papers visible, take advantage of vertical space above your filing cabinet or drawers and use a bulletin board or a magnetic board to post important reminders. Just be sure to remove old items regularly. The most important thing is to develop good habits and be consistent.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Is this a commercial for batting gloves or a baseball game?

    Major league baseball desperately needs to speed up the action. Here's a place to start: Nix the mind-numbing ritual of hitters who first adjust the right batting glove, then the left one, after every single pitch.
     

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • The Simpsons still going strong

    The groundbreaking animation first hit the air Dec. 17, 1989, but the family first appeared on television in "The Tracey Ullman Show" short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987.

    August 21, 2014

  • Does Twitter need a censor?

    Twitter decided last year to make images more prominent on its site. Now, the social network is finding itself caught between being an open forum and patrolling for inappropriate content.

    August 21, 2014

  • Police chief resigns over racial slur repost to Facebook

    A repost on his personal Facebook page of a racially-charged comment by the original poster of a comedy video has forced the police chief of an Oklahoma city to resign his office.

    August 21, 2014

  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Who should pay for your kids ACT?

    Thirteen states paid for 11th-grade students in all public high schools to take the ACT college admission test this year, with several more planning to join them in 2015.

    August 20, 2014

  • Pets.jpg Why do people look like their pets?

    As much as we might quibble over the virtues and vices of Canis domesticus, however, and over whether human nature is any better or worse than dog nature, even dog fanciers don't usually want to look like a dog.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014