Spring clean your filing cabinet

2 March 2009

As well as washing the curtains, polishing the furniture and cleaning out the cupboard under the stairs, why not extend your spring-cleaning to your filing cabinet this year?

It’s amazing how financial documents, statements and receipts can build up over a short period of time. Chances are you don’t need half the paperwork you’ve collected – and keeping it could even put you at risk of fraud.

1. Make some time

It’s far too easy to put things off or get distracted, so pick an afternoon or evening when you have a decent amount of free time to go through everything. Clear a table or a large area of floorspace so that you can pile up your paperwork systematically and avoid getting into a muddle.

2. Get organised

How you divide your documents is up to you, but make sure you file items in a way that is familiar and easy for you to remember. If you initially filed all paperwork chronologically but then started arranging things by type – insurance, banking and pension, for example – you will end up with a mishmash of two systems.

3. Stay safe

Invest in a paper shredder for all bank statements, receipts or other correspondence that contains your personal contact or account details. Argos has a value-range paper cutter for £7.77. Visit argos.co.uk or call 0845 640 2020.

It’s also vital to keep all your financial information in a secure location; a few old shoeboxes under the bed simply isn’t safe. Invest in a secure filing cabinet – Tesco sells a range of different sizes from £25. Go to direct.tesco.com.

4. Go online
While a filing cabinet is preferable to a cardboard box, it’s not the safest option as it could still be accessible to thieves – and could be lost in a fire or suffer water damage.

Allfiled, the online filing solution system, is a much safer and more convenient alternative. It allows you to file your financial information securely and you can access it from any computer at any time.

Registered Moneywise users receive five years’ free membership – saving you £175.


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