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Blog: Minimizing Financial Clutter
You Can Do It Now, or You Can Do It Later

I used to spend a half-day or so gathering up my last year's tax documents at the beginning of each new year. Oh, I knew where they all were.  They were in various locations in my file cabinets and receipt basket.  It's just that the bank statements were in the banking file, the charity receipts were in the charity file, and so on. 
Then one day, I was shopping in Office Depot and happened upon an expandable pocket folder from Pendaflex (the company that makes hanging file folders).  It was designed especially for personal income tax-related papers!  The sections of the folder were already labeled for tax records.  I bought out the store's entire supply for myself and my clients!  For a couple of years, I happily gathered and organized my clients' tax supporting documents in those Pendaflex folders every January.
Then Pendaflex stopped making that folder.
I had to get creative.  This is when two lightbulbs came on for me: 
  • Lightbulb #1:  I could make custom-designed tax folders for each client!  Instead of the pre-printed hanging pocket folders I previously used, I purchased generic folders and supplied my own labels, according to each client's tax categories.  Here's a picture of the kind of folder I now use:
  • Lightbulb #2:  Why not use these custom tax files during the entire year, instead of having to file papers by category during the course of the year and then having to move them all to the tax document folder later?  Didn't mother always tell you to do it right so you wouldn't have to do it over?  Well, mother was right!  Now I can simply start a new tax folder at the beginning of each year and pull the other one out of the file cabinet when I'm ready to do my taxes.  No more double filing!
Here are the categories on my 2007 tax folder: 
  • Bank Account #1 Statements
  • Bank Account #2 Statements
  • Mortgage Payments
  • Charity
  • Health Insurance Statements
  • Medical Bills Paid
  • Prescription Receipts
  • VISA Statements
  • Tax Statements (W-2s, 1099s, etc.)
Your categories may differ slightly, but you get the point.  Go ahead and set up the current year's tax folder now, and tax time will be a little easier.

posted on: 11/11/2007 11:30:00 AM by Katherine Trezise
category: Finances

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Minimizing Financial Clutter

by Katherine Trezise

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About Katherine:

Katherine Trezise is president of Absolutely Organized, based in Baltimore, MD. She is president-elect of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization. Katherine holds a masters degree in business administration, is a Certified Professional Organizer® and a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®. Absolutely Organized specializes in helping people organize their homes, paperwork and financial records to make room in their lives for the things, people and activities that are most important to them.

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