Death is the most natural thing, yet it seems surreal, which is why most of us don't bother planning for it (plus it's kind of a bummer). We've told you how to prepare for the practical stuff, but there's the emotional side to think about, too. Consider writing a "last letter".
Tagged With paperwork
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.
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?
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
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.
Dear Lifehacker, I'm trying to get the chaos that is my paperwork under order, and using your Spring Cleaning Week special to springboard me. In particular, I'd like to digitise all of the varying important-but-life-clogging paperwork detritus around me. Is there any way I can make it less boring?
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.
Hi Team Lifehacker, I try to go as paperless as possible at work, just like in your complete guide to going paperless. The problem is, something in my caveman brain finds it much more difficult to really absorb and analyse text on a screen compared to good old-fashioned paper. I find that with around five pages or more, I really start skipping information and missing important detail.
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
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
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.