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February Is “Archive Your Files” Month

February Is “Archive Your Files” Month

Janet Barclay. MVA

It seems that you’ve just got used to it being a new year, and here it is February, and time to archive your files!

Why archive your files? Quite simply, because if you don’t, your filing cabinet will become overfilled, and you’ll have trouble locating needed documents and finding room for new ones. When your filing system is inconvenient to use, you stop using it properly, and it becomes even less functional.

Why February? By February, you should have received most, if not all, of your year-end statements and other documents for the previous year. This is an ideal time to gather all the receipts and other information slips that you or your accountant will need to prepare your income tax return, because you still have ample time to track down any missing documents before the filing deadline.

All financial and other records pertaining to last year (other than ongoing projects) can now be removed from your active files and moved to an archive area, such as a lower file drawer, storage room, or offsite storage. If files are to be stored in boxes, be sure that you label them clearly, so you don’t waste time if you need to refer to something in the future.

Make sure that you’re optimizing your storage space by purging any documents that you no longer need. Larger businesses usually have a retention schedule that dictates how long certain types of information must be held. It may be wise to consult a lawyer or accountant to determine how long certain documents must be retained by law in your state or province.

With all of your records, be sure to keep privacy legislation in mind, ensuring that all personal and confidential information is stored in a secure location, and shredded when it’s no longer needed.

As you set up new folders for the current year, add any categories that you may need. There are many different ways of setting up a filing system, and the system that will work best for you will depend on the way your mind categorizes information, the nature and volume of the information you keep on file, and whether associates need to access the files in your absence. If the thought of archiving your files or setting up a new filing system makes you feel anxious, depressed, or downright bored, don’t forget that Professional Organizers have the time and expertise to relieve you of this task. The less time you spend wading through your files, the more time you have to devote to your business!

About the Author

Janet Barclay, Organized Assistant, offers a variety of professional quality services to support entrepreneurs and other individuals who are overwhelmed by the demands and technology of the 21st century. For further information, please visit her website at

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