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Thursday, June 19, 2008

How to Organize Your Personal Files

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Having an organized file for all the important information for you and your family will make life much easier. You will be able to fill out applications, track down receipts, and have all of your information at any time. No more searching endlessly for a misplaced piece of info.


  1. Start by deciding what type of filing system makes sense for you. Some things to consider are:
    • The amount of space you have available
    • How much info you have to file
    • The weight of the cabinet or system

  2. Gather all or your paperwork to one spot. Pull it out of the junk drawer, your closet, shoe boxes, where ever it's hiding.
  3. Sort your paperwork into types. Placing like items with other like items. These are common categories and ideas of what they should contain:
    • Personal Data for each family member
      • Social Security card and/or the number
      • Certified copy of Birth Certificate and Date of Birth
      • Copy of ID or passport
      • Finger prints or DNA kit for children
      • Medical Information for each person

    • Immunization records
      • Insurance cards and information
      • Documentation of any disabilities
      • Dr's name, phone number, and emergency contact
      • List of any allergies and medical complications for each person.

    • School information
      • Registration info
      • Transcripts
      • Copies of diplomas
      • Any financial aid information

    • Taxes- This information must be kept for 7 years
      • All W-2's
      • Copy of past tax returns
      • All supporting documents- interest and earnings statements, home mortgage interest statements, ect

    • Car information
      • Copy and original of title
      • Insurance apreement and policy info
      • Copy of registration
      • Spare key

    • Mortgage or rental agreement
    • Credit card or Loan info
    • Bills paid
    • Warranty info and documents
    • Owners manuals
    • Any other useful category

  4. Label each file by the category and place in your file cabinet


  • Put things back in their spot after using them.
  • Create new catagories as you need them
  • File the same way every time
  • Consider keeping important documents in a fire safe
  • Make notes on any info that you are missing and work on getting that information
  • Break the work into shorter sessions over time if you feel overwhelmed
  • Get a copy of your medical records from your Dr.


  • Don't be lazy about putting things away

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