Childhood in a Box
From Baby to Graduation – how to keep and organize the paperwork that matters
by Amy Melaragno of AMOptimize, LLC
I recently worked with a client who has 3 children; the youngest is a high school senior and the other 2 are grown and living on their own. She was overwhelmed with all the paperwork that had accumulated for each child, and what to do about it. She wanted to ensure each child had their important documents, but wasn’t willing to hand them a messy box. From this goal, we developed Project ‘Childhood in a Box’
Our Goal: Organize and containerize all important documents for each child with the plan of handing it down. What a gift to give someone: all their important paperwork in one place!
Supplies: File Boxes, Hanging Files, File Folders, Sheet Protectors, Labels, and a Labeler
Step 1 SORT:
- Bulky keepsake items (trophies, large artwork, etc..) that can’t be filed can be set aside, placed in larger bins and labeled as keepsakes.
- Very critical items, like Social Security Cards and Birth Certificates, should likely go into a fire safe box.
- Shred or recycle the items that aren’t truly important (i.e., mid-year report cards become unimportant once you have year end, etc.)
Step 2 CATEGORIZE: All remaining items were placed into categories.
- School – K through 8
- School – High School
- Job History
- Sports / Extracurricular / Hobbies
Step 3 FILE:
Within each category, we created sub-categories as needed. We got out our labeler, file folders and hanging files, and started filing!
Step 3.5 GO DIGITAL (not for everyone):
As millennials grow up and our society becomes increasingly more digital, the concept of keeping the paper version of items may/can shift to electronic versions. For example, many health and scholastic records are moving from paper-based to online. We can pair that with using a scanner to make an image an item and store the image instead of the original. Many people are not yet ready for this step, but the technology does exist!
Step 4 THE HANDOFF:
My client was able to give her 2 oldest children their ‘Childhood in a Box’ over the holidays when they were home visiting. The reaction was as you would expect,
“What a gift!”