As a business consultant, I see that more and more people are keeping less paper each year, but we still have paper files that are important to keep in hard copy format. Not only is it important to keep these paper files, but just as important is the ability to retrieve them when you need them.

Organize important documents

Do you need to get it together?

Following is a list of documents that we all most likely have someplace in your own home or office, (some more relevant than others), but can we get a hold of them when we need them? And in most cases when we need them, we need to find them quickly. It can be incredibly nerve-racking when these items can’t be found easily. There may be others, but this list will get you started in ‘getting it together’.

  • Certificates and/or licenses:
  • Birth
  • Marriage
  • Educational
  • Religious
  • Death certificates of family members
  • Citizenship document (i.e.: Social Security card)
  • Divorce decree document
  • Estate documents
  • Last Will and Testament
  • Trust/Living Trust
  • Living Will or Advanced Medical Directive
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Finances
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
  • Funeral information
  • Passport
  • Insurance
  • Health
  • Life
  • Homeowner’s or Renter’s
  • Auto
  • Other (worker’s comp, person, family, circumstance-specific)
  • Titles
  • Property/Real Estate
  • Auto

A few of these items you may choose to keep in a safe deposit box, so establish which items those will be. Scan a copy and store on your hard drive or upload to the cloud for easy access, ie. Google Drive, and the original can then be placed in the safe deposit box or other designated safe place.  When creating the file of the electronic copy, tag the location of the original.

For all other documents, index them into Paper Tiger. The Location name in your Paper Tiger database might be “Family Docs”. You can file them in any order you wish, then type the Item Names and keywords into your Paper Tiger database. The Item Number in the database will coincide with the hanging file folder number in your desk or file cabinet drawer.

Just a quick story about a client to show you how easy it can be to allow important documents to get scattered. Before I started using Paper Tiger, she thought she was reasonably organized at home. Her husband and she  kept titles and financial documents in our desk drawer. All other documents were kept in a file cabinet. When they moved, the big desk we used in our previous home was placed in the basement office where her husband would now work. Those same documents were still there, but now some of the newer important documents found a new home in a file box that was more convenient for her to file into upstairs. When she needed to find a car title, she thought, ‘is it still in the desk downstairs?’ or ‘did she put it in the file box?’ Needless to say, getting all those important documents together, and documented into Paper Tiger’s database is now a priority. Instead of a 10 minute exercise of going through the upstairs file box, then downstairs to search in the desk drawer, she can now conduct a quick search in Paper Tiger and be able to put her fingers on it in about 5 seconds!

Be organized to find important documents

Retrieval is the Goal!

Another advantage of indexing your files into Paper Tiger is that you don’t have to be the only one that knows where everything is. Anyone that you give access to your Paper Tiger database will be able to retrieve what is needed in seconds. Finding files that you’ve indexed into Paper Tiger will no longer be a scramble to search all over your home or office, but will be as easy as typing in a search keyword in Paper Tiger’s search box, and the results will lead you directly to the file where it is stored.Paper Tiger


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