Records Management for Individuals

Records Management for Individuals

When we think of records management, we often imagine huge corporations storing truckloads of old paperwork in huge warehouses the size of a city block. These companies are required by law to retain certain documents for extended periods of time. This is not always the case, however. Not every business is a multi-million dollar corporation. In this article, we will outline a few basic steps that small businesses and even individuals can use to take advantage of the benefits of proper records management.

To begin, gather all of your paper records together. Check every surface in your home or office. Most people already implemented some sort of document storage for themselves, be it a large cardboard box, a filing cabinet, or a back room or closet. If you have one of these, take a look inside, and pull out everything that isn’t already well organized and accessible.

First, sort through all your records and pull out the ones which are no longer needed. These can be disposed of, ideally with the help of a paper shredder. Next, sort all records by type. For example, all invoices go together in one group, while all bank statements go into another group. If groups of papers get too large, sort them into smaller groups. Invoices, for example, can be sorted by month. Bank statements can also be sorted by bank account number. There is no wrong way to classify your documents, so long as the system you use is consistent, and makes sense to those who need to access the files later on.

After sorting is complete, it is time to consider your new storage solution. At this point, there are two important things to take into account – the remaining available space, and the rate at which records are generated. Dividing the available space by the amount of paperwork created each week will give you an idea of how long your storage solution will last. When that time period nears its end, it will be time to consider storing your documents in an off-site facility. An experienced records management firm will be able to organize, track, store and provide security for your items. Despite popular belief, most records management firms today can handle very modest amounts of records. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Plan ahead now, and explore the different records management facilities in your area today.

Computer records:

To begin, go through your computer and gather all of your important files. If you are like most people, including the author- chances are these files are scattered throughout your hard drive. Perform a search for the files you need. Generally, important records are stored in some sort of text format – search for spreadsheet, word processor, and plain text (.txt) files. For this reason, it is a good idea to occasionally backup your data onto another storage media, such as CDs, or even an additional external hard drive.

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