This is one of those blog posts that I know is important, but I kept putting off. Just like the actual task – we all know how important it is to have our important documents organized, but it just seems like more fun to organize our pantries instead.
Since this was one of my personal goals this year – to get my documents in order – I figured I'd share my process, and maybe it'll motivate you too!
Let's keep it simple: I'll explain the two ways to organize your important docs – your physical documents, and on your computer. Both might seem like the last thing you want to spend your time doing, but I promise – the next time you need to send in your kid's medical records to a school, or grab your passport (hopefully for traveling soon!), you'll want your documents to be organized.
We live in Northern California where wildfires have become a devastating yearly occurrence... and have gotten uncomfortably close to our home. Beyond wanting to have everything backed up in case of a disaster, creating an organized digital system for your documents will help make school admissions, doctors visits, and sharing docs with family so much easier.
And as I always say... that's the point of organizing right?... To make your life easier. So let's do that now!
First, let's nail down what "important documents" means. We have a LOT of documents... and they come in the mail every single day. But our focus here is on what you can place in one file box/organizer – only the items that are hard to obtain and essential. So most bills, bank statements, car insurance docs and school papers can go somewhere else. Put it this way – this is the box you'd actually run to grab in case of a fire. Because who wants to apply for another passport or risk losing a birth certificate?
Here's a quick list of important docs:
Legal Docs + Wills
Of course, you can always add any categories that your family considers essential and important.
Tip: If thinking about having to organize and file all your documents right now stops you from creating a system for your important docs.... take a deep breath. It doesn't all have to be done right now. Just focus on this one task – of important docs – and let yourself off the hook to do the rest later.
To organize the hard copy of your important documents you'll need:
Hanging File Container
Optional: label maker
Digitally organizing your important documents
The best solution I have come across is Pillar Life. And by best, I mean it's easy and saves me time. WIN.
Pillar's Founder, Michael Bloch, came up with the idea in 2017 after his mother was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. His family didn't know how to access her most important information when it mattered most. Years later, when Michael and his wife had their first child, he again saw how difficult it was to store, organize, and share his family's most important information with his trusted loved ones.
Michael wondered, in a world where technology provides simple solutions to so many things, how can organizing & sharing information still be so difficult and time-consuming? So he decided to create a solution that worked for him... and now others.
How does it work?
As you can see, it's so simple. And as a mom of three, with wayyyy too many documents, I love simple. Remember, once you upload those files, make sure to immediately file them in your "important docs" box. This is also a good opportunity to edit through your docs, and shred any outdated or unneeded papers.
Is it safe?
This was my first, and most important question. Luckily, Pillar has multiple tiers of security that protect your family's personal information during every step of the Pillar system. These are extremely sensitive and important documents, so Pillar built in multiple failsafes to ensure that the user is the only person who can access the information.
I love that Pillar helps people move from the chaos of storing all our important info in several digital places to storing it all in one place – where you can quickly access documents, organize them in smart, easy to recall ways, and share with family members.