Organizing Important Papers

Whether we like it or not, it’s tax season. Are you feeling overwhelmed? How is your filing system holding up?

Let this be the last year you stress about gathering up all paperwork you’ll need to file your taxes. Keep reading to learn about my system for maintaining an easy, simple paperwork filing system. Tend to it at most once a week (for less than 5 minutes) and you’ll be ready to go each year come filing time!

Personally, I like to keep things really simple when it comes to taxes. I have a file called “Taxes” that I keep in my Family File Box, and all year long I put any document in there that will be important when tax time rolls around: Charitable donation receipts, 1099s, W2s, childcare receipts, business expense records, etc.—it all goes in the file. It really helps me to have it all gathered in one place when it’s time to prepare our taxes.

I also don’t keep physical copies of everything. Instead, I scan receipts and tax documents into Evernote using my favorite Fujitsu Scan Snap Scanner. This scanner makes scanning all sorts of papers crazy easy and fast. You can scan up to 30 pages per minute. It can scan receipts, photos, business cards, and documents.

Scan Snap Scanner

If you have a newer phone, you can also “scan” using your camera app or in your iPhone Notes app. The disadvantage is having to scan papers one at a time, but if you keep up with it and don’t let papers pile up, it works great!

Once I’ve scanned something, I save it in Evernote with some tags (e.g., “Taxes 2023,” “Charitable Donations”), give it a title, and I’m done! Having a digital copy of important papers is super helpful, and I love Evernote’s search features and the fact that I can access it anywhere from my phone or computer. It’s seriously amazing!

And speaking of files, do you know how long you should keep different documents and records? I try to strike a balance between holding onto important papers that are useful and purging things I no longer need. Click here to download my Important Papers guide.

I recommend having files in your Family File Box for taxes, medical documents for each family member (including pets), cars, school paperwork (this year’s reference items only – not keepsakes or artwork), take out menus, receipts, gift cards and coupons. Think of this as a temporary stop. Important, “forever” documents (like birth certificates and passports) can be kept in a more secure filing cabinet or, ideally, a water and fireproof safe.

Once a week, open your mail, gather your receipts from your purse/wallet and file what you need to file. Scan anything that you don’t need a physical copy of. Once a year, do a larger purge of your Family File Box (early summer is a great time for this) and transfer anything really important to long term storage. Again, get rid of anything that’s now obsolete and scan anything you’d like to keep for future reference.

Tax time is a great time to consider your overall filing system and make adjustments as needed to keep things running smoothly. If you’re in the market to revamp your filing system, check out my favorite products to organize paper. Everything you need to build your own Family File Box is there.

You can also call in my team for help – we can create a custom paperwork system for you and walk you through how papers should flow in and out of your home.

Happy Organizing!



Each of my career choices-wedding coordinator, event planner, and teacher — gave me the creative freedom to organize everyone and everything. I have always thrived on to-do lists, planners, and systems! Now, I lead a team of organizers to help me on my mission. Read more…

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