We’ve put together a list of seven great ideas to help you get organized so you can sort tax returns, certificates, and pretty much any other kind of paper you’re having trouble storing. We’ll stop along the way to get some reassurance and laughs from Michael Scott, who is everyone’s go-to paper expert (Regional Manager of Dunder Mifflin Inc. and CEO of The Michael Scott Paper Company).
How should paper be kept in the long run? Important papers should be kept in a cool, dark place. Sensitive documents and valuables can be ruined by heat and humidity, and light can make paper fade. If you rent a storage unit, you should often put paper and other fragile items in climate-controlled storage to protect them from the long-term effects of humidity and big temperature changes. Find out more about the six most important rules for storing things for a long time.
Paper clutter can show in a variety of ways in your home and office. You might have a pile of junk mail on your counter, receipts in one of your kitchen drawers, and personal files and projects that aren’t finished in your file cabinet. This doesn’t have to be the case, though. There is even a simple way to fix this mess: come up with a way to carefully organize the important papers and get rid of the rest.
When you’re done getting rid of old papers and keeping the ones you want to keep, it’s important to put them in acid-free file folders. If you use file folders that don’t have acid, your papers will be safe and won’t turn yellow. Make a folder for each kind of file you want to save. Keeping project proposals, presentations, reports, invoices, and other types of documents separate from each other is the key to managing paperwork well. Once these folders are in order, they can be put in a plastic tote or another container.
Most of the time, flat paper items like papers, manuscripts, drawings, prints, posters, and maps are called works on paper instead of bound paper items. One of the easiest, cheapest, and most effective ways to keep a collection in good shape is to handle each piece with care.
• For a full list of papers to keep, see How Long to Keep Important Papers. • Make a receipt box by putting all of your sales slips in a clear folder (like this: Stainless Steel Magnetic Wall Pocket, $22, The Container Store, container.com). When it’s full, go through it to find any important receipts you need to keep and put them in your filing cabinet. • When someone steals someone else’s identity, the thief usually knows the victim or has access to his or her documents. Invest in a cross-cut shredder to keep yourself safe. Try something that the GHRI suggests, like the DS-1 Fellowes Powershred ($168; amazon.com).
How should old papers be put away?
Keep your papers in order. Documents should be laid flat and kept in a cool, dark place. Papers should always be kept in polyester film folders or alkaline containers that don’t contain acid (such as boxes, folders, or mats). Don’t keep your papers in a place that gets wet, like a bathroom, an attic, or a basement.
How do you keep paper documents safe?
When you put papers in a safe, you should keep them safe from damage and spills. One way to do this is with page slips made of plastic. After putting papers in a plastic bag, file them in a binder or box. Then, you can put the binder in your safe.
What is the best way to keep old letters and papers safe?
Use pocket pages, clear bags, or acid-free envelopes to keep dust, moisture, and other harmful things from getting into your letters and papers. If they are in archival binder pages, you can keep them in fancy three-ring binders and slipcases.
Is laminating paper safe?
Laminating your paper object won’t make it better or worse, and it may even make it worse. You might be speeding up the breakdown of your object because heat makes chemical reactions happen faster.
How do you store old papers and pictures?
Experts say that old photos should be handled carefully, kept in archival boxes, and never shown to the light.
What should I do with documents on paper?
This is the more traditional option. You can store your paper documents in a safe filing cabinet or hire an off-site storage company to make room. The best place for hard copies of files that won’t be used often or for a long time is an off-site storage facility.
Should I keep all of my old letters?
You should keep letters like this in your collection of genealogy documents for future generations. No matter how many letters you have, they all add to the history of your family and help tell its story. You might already have a few letters from the war.
What should I do with the old letters I wrote by hand?
The easiest way to store old letters is to lay them flat and put them in page protectors. The page protectors should then be put in a three-ring binder and kept in a “slipcase” for the binder.
Is cardstock or paper better for laminating?
In general, if you want your project to last longer and look more professional, you should laminate the cardstock. Laminating regular paper with laminating sheets is good in many ways. You might want to keep a piece of art or a school bulletin that your child made.
What kinds of papers can’t be laminated?
All official documents, like birth certificates, shouldn’t be laminated because it makes it harder to tell if a document is real and hurts the credibility of the act. All certificates and official papers should be kept in their own file folder. Don’t laminate anything.
Is it acceptable to laminate ancient documents?
Lamination is not thought to be a safe way to keep documents safe because it is done with a lot of heat and pressure. Also, the ingredients used to laminate may be chemically unstable, which would speed up the paper’s breakdown.
Should old schoolwork be thrown away?
Get rid of things you won’t need again. Don’t hold back. If the final exam or class is over, you don’t need to keep any class papers. If you’re tempted to keep a piece of writing because you “might use it for something else in the future,” DUMP IT.