Quick Tip: Expiration Date Your Files

Expiration Date Your Files - Organizing with a Side of Fabulous One of the most popular questions asked during organizing papers is "How long do I have to keep this?" If - like me - you go through and weed out your files at least once a year...

You are weeding your files out once a year, correct?

No?

Bonus quick tip: Weed out your files once a year! I like the week between Christmas and New Year's. It's not like we're doing much else that week anyway and I like the feeling that I'm creating new space for the new year. Once your files are properly set up (which may take some time), a yearly weed really doesn't take too much time at all. Sit down in front of the TV with some coffee or a cocktail and it'll be done before you know it.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

When weeding out files, we often wonder how long we have to keep things. Instead of having to look it up every time, just put an expiration date on your file. You could get super-detailed with it and add the date to the label. So the example in my photo would read:

Car Accident - 1 Nov 08 - 6:45pm Keep until 2015

Or you can do just as I have and slap a post-it on the front of the folder. How you do it and how pretty it looks is totally up to you. Since this is sitting in my archive files until next year, I don't really care what it looks like. Bottom line, this step that only takes a couple of extra seconds will save you quite a few minutes looking up the guidelines every time you wonder if you can toss a file or not.

The next time you go through your files (or when you finally properly set them up), take an extra moment to note when it's OK to let go of the file for good.