Filing paperwork is one of the most boring and often stressful home organizing tasks. No wonder we put it off and see growing heaps of paper mixed with trash. The day we need a specific document among the mess, and it’s the worst feeling! Like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Let’s give a present to our future selves and start sorting our paperwork now!
- Take a paper bin.
- Make a pile of your papers and go sit next to your filing cabinet. If you don’t have a filing system yet, read on!
- Start at the top, go through each paper.
- Purge the easy stuff like junk mail, old magazines, out-dated documents you don’t need to keep.
- File directly in the appropriate folder, (or if you know many more papers e.g. bank slips, are coming to make a specific pile for your bank slips you will later put in the bank folder in one go).
- Sort your remaining piles. Whether you already have a filing system yet or not, you will notice the following are categories you can file in. Add as many folders as needed:
- things I want to read later (you can put this on your nightstand or another place you like reading in).
7. Clearly label, you want to be able to find what you’re looking for immediately.
8. Shred sensitive information you need to get rid of.
9. For important and irreplaceable paperwork like birth and marriage certificates, it might be worthwhile to buy a safe-deposit box for 25€.
Despite technology leaps, worries about deforestation, and the space it takes in your home or office, business and every day activities in France still generate an enormous stack of papers and documents!
This list is by no means exhaustive, but the rule is: if in any doubt, keep it.
Why not print this article and keep it visible in the front of your files? That way, you’ll remember to have an annual clear-out.
WHILE GUARANTEE IS VALID AND BEYOND
- Bank statements and pay-in slips
- Car purchase papers
- House and vehicle insurance contracts
- Invoices and receipts for repairs or services
- Receipts for work or repairs to the property
- Invoices for household goods with guarantee
- Estate agents’ fees and commissions
- Insurance compensation claims (longer for medical compensation)
- Loan repayments (30 yrs from final payment)
- Phone bills
- Car repairs
- Chimney sweeping certificate (needed for fire insurance)
- Construction and building work
- Local taxes (foncières and habitation)
- Medical records
- Water bills
- Divorce papers proof of payment of taxes
- Passports and identity documents income Tax returns
- House and property deeds tax rebates
- Salary, pay and social security payments slips (at least until you retire) 3 YEARS
- Life insurance policies television licence
- Inheritance documents
- Wills and testaments rent receipts and contracts
- Birth and marriage, death certificates (not just your own – parent’s certificates too) electricity and gas bils
- Diplomas and qualifications life insurance premiums
- Military service papers
- Cheques to pay in (maximum before paying in)
- Mortgage papers (10 yrs after final payment)
- Insurance cancellation papers
- Employment contracts (until you retire) insurance premiums other than life insurance
- Cheque stubs doctors’, dentists’, and chemists’ bills
- All pension papers, medical prescriptions
- Receipts for payment of: motoring fines
- Hospital bills, social security payments
- Notaire fees
The information in this article is provided for informational purposes and does not constitute legal, professional or financial advice. For the French government’s official document go to (in French): https://www.service-public.fr/particuliers/vosdroits/F19134