This post was written by our SBO Partners at Optimal Life Space and it was too good not to share!

April showers bring the hope of flowers as the saying goes but it can also be a stressful time because of the dreaded tax deadline.  Why do people feel so overwhelmed when it comes to paperwork? Taxes?

 

One reason is that your paperwork is scattered.

Whether it’s tax-related or day to day paperwork, I’m a firm believer that you can reduce stress by de-cluttering and organizing throughout the year.  Here are a few tips to get you started:

 

Keep it Simple.

If you are managing both paper and electronic bill pay, invoicing, and receipts, give the folder in your filing cabinet the same name as the file on your computer.  This will help you find documentation related to the same account or categories quickly.

 

Know what to keep and what to toss.

It is just as important to understand what to save as what to purge. Example: Anything tax related should be kept at seven years. Keep paperwork for the most recent insurance policies. Keep receipts until they show up on your bank or credit card statement. You don’t need to keep your statements because you can access them online anytime. This also applies to receipts like medical bills, prescriptions and utilities.  You can download a summary at the end of the year.

 

Stick to a routine.

Once you have a process that works for you, stick to it! Keep documentation in the same place and pay bills on the same days of the month. Determine if filing paperwork daily, weekly or monthly works best for your life.

 

Take advantage of your app.  

I personally use Quicken.  At the end of the year, it takes me less than 5 minutes to create a report that breaks my spending out into various tax categories.

 

Gather your tax paperwork year-round.

Use a hanging file cart or document box to organize your tax documentation as you receive it. Print off any electronic records to keep everything together and a breeze for filing come April!

For other great tips, visit the Optimal Life Space BLOG