Well, the holidays have passed and all of the craziness that goes with them. So - what's next? For many of us, at least in the US, we are getting our W-2's (tax documents) from work. That can mean headaches, stress, and lots of paper clutter, or we can prepare ahead of time and tackle the issue before it becomes a contribute to clutter.
Personally, I like to take care of my taxes as early as possible for several reasons:
- Usually I'm going to get a refund - and I like getting my money sooner rather than later!
- If I do find out that I owe additional taxes, I also want to know about that as soon as possible so that I spread out the financial impact over a longer period of time
- Last but not least, taking care of it as soon as you can means less time having loose tax documents, files full of receipts and all of the other paper clutter that goes with taxes laying around.
Taking Care Of Paper Clutter And Taxes
- Start now. Don't put it off. The sooner you get it done, the better off you and your house will be!
- Utilize your resources - if you don't have any, think about where you can make the most impact for the lowest cost. I love my scanner and use it for reducing paperwork clutter all the time.
When I want to reduce the paperwork involved with taxes, and in general, I try to round everything up that I need and assess whether or not it has to stay in paper form. If not, it goes into one pile. If it does, I file it into the correct area and put it away - no more loose papers gathering dust in the corner!
The pile that doesn't need to stick around in physical form gets scanned in. This might mean you need to do a little bit of prep work and set up a filing system on your computer using a system like Dropbox (something as simple as a folder or two for "important paperwork") or something a bit more involved, but very useful, like Evernote. Both of these services are free - I highly recommend both.
Once you have scanned in and organized your papers, rip up and toss them out. If you have personal information that you don't want others to see, you may be interested in getting a personal document shredder. They are very inexpensive and provide some peace of mind when it comes to times like these.
If you keep this up while taking care of your taxes you will help to reduce the amount of paper clutter in your home. There is enough to deal with already - don't let this extra paperwork weigh you down!