We do everything we can to keep our family safe and well taken care of – from locking the doors at night to making sure our children are kept out of harm’s way. For parents, keeping our family safe is our first priority but with all of the things that we have to do on a daily basis; urgent things that keep our families protected, it’s no big surprise when other, less urgent things get pushed to the back burner and saved for a rainy day. (Learn some Time-Saving Tips for Parents here.)
One of the tasks we typically put off until the last minute is organizing our family’s important documents. We’re all guilty of it at one time or another but the good news is, even if you’ve neglected this for a long period of time, it doesn’t have to be quite as time consuming as you think. Here are a few tips to get you on your way:
- Collection: Go through your entire house (don’t forget the “junk” drawers!) and collect all of the papers that need to be kept in one central location: birth certificates, baptism records, social security cards, medical records, vaccination records, passports, insurance information, etc. If you’re unsure about the importance of a document, ask yourself what the consequences would be if that paper was lost forever.
- Copycat: Original documents are necessary for things like passports and registering for school, but it’s never a bad idea to make copies of everything. Copies of immunization records can be given directly to the school or to a new pediatrician but be sure to keep your originals tucked in a safe place.
- Store the rest: It’s unlikely you’re going to need baptism records on a regular basis or even passports or birth certificates. Lock these important papers in a fire-proof safe or, even better, open a safe deposit box at a local bank. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll be at the mercy of “banker’s hours” when you need the documents so you’ll have to remember to plan accordingly.
- Use technology to your advantage: Scan and save documents to be easily recovered later on. This can work for both important papers and photos. Don’t forget to make a backup!
- Share the secret: Be sure to let at least one other person in your family know where you keep all of these important documents should you not be available to access them yourself.
So there you have it – it’s not really that difficult to put your documents in one place and have them easily accessible – you just have to get started!