Tagged With paperwork

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It's not uncommon to see mountains of receipts piled up in the back offices of small businesses around Australia. That doesn't even include the dozens or hundreds of receipts your employees could be hoarding in their wallets and desks, accounting for items they have purchased themselves or on a company credit card.

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Dear Lifehacker, I'm trying to declutter our house and one thing that constantly makes a mess is bills, receipts and bank statements. I've gone paperless in most cases, but part of me still feels I need hard copies of certain things. Is there some kind of list I can go by for things I really should keep paper copies of (say for legal or tax reasons)? How long should I keep these things? Will scans of the original do in some cases?

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Dear Lifehacker, I've been holding onto old documents (pay stubs, credit card bills, insurance paperwork) and my filing cabinet has finally had its fill. I know moving into the 21st century by scanning and sorting is probably the best option, but I don't want to give the time or energy to scanning, organising and backing up all those documents. When can I just get rid of them? Thanks, Peeved by Paper

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When you look at the piles of paper you've stored for years, going paperless feels daunting. Not only do you have to scan everything, but you have to catalogue it too. While you can't escape the task itself, a Doxie portable scanner -- combined with Evernote -- can make the process a whole lot easier.

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One of my least favourite jobs is catching up on my filing and paperwork. If I was a little more disciplined I wouldn’t let it mount up - I wait till the "To Be Filed" tray is full - but it’s such a boring task and I can always find something more interesting to do.

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Everyone's moving toward a paperless society. The digital revolution is undoubtedly friendlier for trees, electronic files are much easier to find and back up, and everyone saves on printing and mailing costs. However, there's always some paperwork you can't help getting in dead tree form. And some dinosaurs -- like me -- occasionally work best with paper. Here's how I've found a happy compromise for my physical and electronic filing needs, and perhaps how you might too.

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A good number of receipts are printed on thermal paper these days. Look at them after a few weeks in your wallet or other warm spots, and they're unreadable. A Consumerist comment thread picks up a few ideas on keeping them useful.

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You already pay your bills online and get electronic statements, but there are even more ways you can stop killing innocent trees and wasting time and money dealing with paper. It's time we went paperless.

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No matter how digital your life, your doctors, sports clubs, and children's teachers won't be at the same level. A "Central Home Binder" is a convenient, centralised way to keep all your life's paper together. Sue at the Unclutterer blog uses a simple binder with a plastic cover to keep her family's paperwork in one location—right next to the cookbooks, in fact. Here's her other equipment and basic tab setup:

The Categories (one per binder tab): Contacts Health & Fitness Food House Travel The Tools: Simple Binder Tabs Plastic Pockets for In Between Tabs

As the author notes, even if you're a devotee of your digital address book, unnecessary or occasional phone numbers, like phone trees for children's groups and events, fit nicely into the "Contacts" tab, while the rest are self-explanatory. Creating a Central Binder for Your Home

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Businesses have policies for how long records and paperwork are to be held—and you should, too. Cut down on the clutter in your office by establishing rules for handling paperwork. Over at the organizational blog Ian's Messy Desk, Ian has several great tips on reducing office clutter. Chief among them is creating a record retention policy. Despite technological advances, there are certain files, such as personnel records and corporate documents, that you'll need to keep for extended periods of time. To manage this process, you'll need a record retention plan. How this policy reads will vary depending on local laws.

It isn't effective or practical to keep paperwork beyond the point where it is required by law or directly benefits you—so goodbye five-year-old cable bills. Ian's process starts by assigning a rule and duration for each type of document in one's "active" pile, then consolidating and organisng your archive boxes with destroy-by dates. That way, your clean-out sessions allow you to quickly and confidently shred, burn, or shoot the documents into a lower earth orbit. Photo by Marcin Wichary. Eight Ways to Keep Your Office Clutter Free

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Whether your workspace is miles from your home or right there amongst your books and Battlestar Galactica figurines, it probably has something in common with at least a few other Lifehackers' (and mine)—the ability to attract clutter, make important documents and objects hard to find, and, over time, become time an actual impediment to getting things done. Some of us are able to work in a way that doesn't leave things a mess and clean as you go, but for those of us who can't trust our instincts, a system that corrects itself is needed. Today I've rounded up a few of our best tips for getting your workspace in order and keeping it that way without a cerebral transplant. Take one last look at your paper piles and empty coffee cups and read on for inspiration. Photo by frischmilch.