Where to Keep Important Documents
Now that you have all your vital documents, where’s the best place to keep them safe?
Safe-deposit box: Consider stashing original documents at a bank safe-deposit box (annual fees for small boxes start at about $45). Keep copies in your house if you might need to refer to them, and consider giving another set to a family member who doesn’t live with you or a trusted friend. Keep one key to the box in the house and another with a trusted friend or relative.
Fireproof safe: Another option is to purchase a fireproof safe for your home (from $37, bizchair.com). “It’s a heck of a lot more convenient than running to the bank,” says Barry Izsak, president of the National Association of Professional Organizers. “Look for a safe that can be bolted to the floor and has at least a one-hour fire rating. And if you live on a high floor, opt for one with impact protection as well.”
Accordion file: If that’s too much of an investment, Lisa Zaslow, founder of Gotham Organizers, in New York City, suggests keeping all your most important documents in a single accordion file in a file cabinet (a bright color will make it easy to spot), so you can grab everything quickly in an emergency.
Dry spaces: Consider your home’s location when you pick the right spot to store your key documents: “If you live near the coast or in any other flood-prone location,” says Zaslow, “don’t put them in the basement―think attic.”
A known location: Let someone else know where your key documents are located, in case you’re unable to access them when needed.