4 Ways to Manage and Protect Your Personal Documents
Managing your own personal documents is essential to keep yourself organized, on track, and prepared for any surprises that come your way. Nothing is more frustrating than needing something, and not knowing where you (or someone else) put it! Additionally, if you can dispose of any unnecessary documents, you want to do it securely. Below we highlight four tips that will help you keep your documents and information organized, secure, and safe.
Make Sure You’re Protected
One of the most important ways to ensure your personal documents are secure is to limit access to those who really need it. Allowing other individuals to access files that may not truthfully benefit from it puts you at risk of losing sensitive information. Keeping physical documents in a locked filing cabinet in your home office and password-protecting documents and files are simple, yet effective ways to protect everything.
Have a Filing System in Place
Putting a filing system or process in place will keep you accountable to storing and organizing all your important documents and paperwork. This routine will simplify your life so much, making it easier to store and locate any documents you need. It also benefits you regardless of whether you use physical or digital storage options or both!
Identify How Long to Keep Your Documents
There are some documents and information that you might need quite frequently for the long-term future (like academic records, passports, birth certificates, etc.). These documents should be kept in an accessible place that is safe from any potential hazards. Other documents, however, may only be needed for a brief period. According to Investopedia, most bank statements can be shredded after one year. Anything tax-related such as proof of charitable donations should be kept anywhere from three to seven years. For a more detailed list, check out this article!
Know How to Dispose of Your Documents
The safest way to dispose of physical documents that may contain personal information or account numbers is to shred them. Other documents like paperwork or records without sensitive information can easily be recycled. For sensitive digital documents, simply deleting the file and emptying your recycling bin will not suffice. The place where the information was stored needs to be wiped on top of that. There are several software tools available that will overwrite the space and ensure that your files are permanently erased. Programs like Darik’s Boot And Nuke, Eraser, or Disk Wipe are some of the top choices, but there are a plethora of free options to fit your specific needs. Take a look at the rest of the list in this article!
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