Moving takes a lot of effort, and there are all sorts of details that you need to sort out in order to be sure that you’re doing things correctly. You want to have everything in order and you want to be certain that you don’t forget anything while you’re packing. You want to know what’s going on and have a clear picture of what you’re taking and what you’re not.
This is even truer if you’re moving cross country and trying to ensure that all of your files are ready to go. How can you know that you have every single document that you’re supposed to take with you? Can you organize things properly and know that you’re working it out in a manner that is going to be useful?
Whether you’re a business owner that is moving all of the items for your business, or you’re a homeowner that keeps all of your receipts and paperwork for tax purposes, you know how difficult it is to keep files in order. And, while you’re moving to a new home, you may find it’s even more difficult.
So, how do you keep everything sorted out? In this guide, we’re going to help you take a good look at your document sorting system so that you can work it out in a way that makes sense for your purposes.
Create a Color-Coded System for Filing
Before you even start the filing process, you want to be sure that you have a solid organizational solution in place for everything that you’re trying to do. Your best bet is to always have something color coded that you’re going to be able to work with. Colors can help trigger memories and make it easier to find things later on.
Use bright, primary colors and have multiple keys available so that you (and others who may need to) are going to be able to know exactly what it is that they are looking at in regards to the system. Clearly label everything so that you can easily find whatever files you may be searching for. And don’t choose colors that are too close to one another (multiple shades of blue, for instance).
The more organized and specific that your system is, the better off that you’ll be when it comes time to sort all of it out. On top of that, you could likely make this a permanent system that allows you to keep everything as organized as possible, even if you aren’t out there and getting ready for moving day.
Use Packing Boxes that are Specially Designed for Files
There are a variety of different packing boxes out there, and one of the types that is most commonly used nowadays is the file-style. These boxes are specially designed for people who have a lot of files – they’re actually very common when you’re looking at loading up an office for a big move. But, a few of them will work well if you’re packing a home office.
These boxes are the perfect size for any sort of file. You can stack file folders in there sideways, like you would if they were in a drawer or other container.
If your files have those little hangers that hook onto the sides, you can also typically hang them on the side of the box, as well. This can help you to keep things organized without requiring your movers to carry a really, really heavy filing cabinet, which can be dangerous to move. Papers will stay in order, and when you arrive to your new home, all you need to do is take them out of the box and put them right back in the file cabinet, where they belong.
Consider Utilizing a Fire-Safe Lockbox
The most important documents that you possess should always be locked away and protected as best as you’re able to do so. Most of the time, you will find that it’s a lot easier to ensure that things like your passport and your social security cards are safe if they are in their own special place.
The best place for that “special spot” to be is a fire-safe lock box. These boxes come in a variety of sizes, making it easy for you to find what you need and find one that is going to fit well. If you have a lot of documents, you may need to go with a larger one. Only a few small ones? A small one is perfect for you.
Separate Files Into “Important” and “Not Important”
Another important factor is that you want to be sure that you separate your files into “important files” and “not important files”. It may seem strange at first, since you probably assume that all of the files that you’re keeping are going to be important to keep. But, some of them may end up being more important than others.
If you have some files with important information that needs to be protected or confidential, then you want to mark them as important. Old receipts and such may be important to you, but they can be labeled not important for this sort of exercise. If you put a little work into separating important items from items with less importance, you will have a better idea of how to split everything up come moving day.
Make Digital Copies of Your Records, if Possible
If it’s safe to do so, and you have the means to do so, you want to be sure that you make digital copies of your records. All that you’ll need to do is have a scanner of some sort, or even just take a picture that you upload to the cloud or put on an external hard drive that you label and encrypt properly.
Nowadays, this should be standard practice for you in the first place. Anything can happen to your documents, from fire, to flood, to just getting lost in the shuffle. If you have everything documented in a digital form, then you’ll find that it’s that much easier to keep track of everything. Plus, you can use a search function to find what you’re looking for, if the file system fails you.
If you do this, be certain that someone else that you trust also has the information that they may need in order to be able to access those files with ease. That way, if there’s an issue or you end up losing access for whatever reason, someone else can come and help you with the process of getting access back in the future.
Shred Documents That Are No Longer Necessary
During the process of organizing all of your paperwork, it’s highly likely that you’re going to end up coming across a number of documents that just don’t have any purpose for you anymore. For example, you may find old tax documents that are more than 7 years out, or paperwork for a home or other agreement that isn’t in effect anymore.
Take some time to get rid of the documents you don’t need by shredding them. Even if you don’t have a shredder at home, there are all sorts of companies out there who will take care of the shredding services for you at a low cost. These companies typically have very strict confidentiality rules, as well, so you don’t have to worry about any information being shared that shouldn’t be.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I pack my documents in the moving van?
It depends on what you’re moving with you. If you have a lot of important documents that need to be with you because of the moving in process, then you probably want to have those with you. You’re also better off taking your private documents, like birth certificates and Social Security Cards, with you.
If you have a lot of documents, like school files or stuff for your business, those can be sent in the moving van or truck without too many problems. If you’re especially concerned about issues of confidentiality and such, then you can find filing solutions that allow you to lock everything up, making it safer for you and the movers.
Are documents protected under my moving insurance?
It depends on your moving insurance. Most moving insurance options will cover absolutely everything that goes with you, as long as you have it listed in the inventory that they request for you to have.
If you are concerned, be sure that you talk to your moving company and the insurance covering your move. You may have the option to pay for additional insurance for the documents in question, as well.
The Beginning of Sorting Your Documents
If you put the time and effort into sorting out your documents, you will find that it’s easier to take them with you, wherever you may be headed. These tips should help make the process go more smoothly and make organization much less stressful when it’s time to start moving.