I am becoming a more firm believer in the paperless office. I am currently in a situation in which I need to locate some tax documents that are between 15 and 21 months old. This is a pretty short look back and I consider myself pretty organized yet I am at a loss to find this information.
Due to my shortcomings, I am stuck calling around to various institutions to have them look for copies of these documents. This is not an unreasonable request, but it is somewhat tedious and should serve as motivation to stay more organized.
I am also reminded that not all documents are created equal. Copies of tax records should be given a higher priority than copies of a telephone bill. When searching for documents organization is also very important. Storing everything by date is not the easiest way to locate hard or soft copies. It is better to sort by topic within the broad constraints of income, expenses and investments. All of these would require appropriate subcategories as well.
The sensitivity of some of this information would require some safeguards like encryption and password protection. While going backwards to scan and sort may not make sense, going forward 2008 will be the correct time to organize paperwork with thought given to document retrieval.