There are important documents we all need to keep. From birth certificates to reward cards, we have documents and cards that need to be well organized to access them in emergencies. But, CAN you access them if you need them right now? Do you know where all of them are? And, if you can access them, are they in a fireproof safe? Today, I will show you how to organize important documents in a fireproof safe to keep everything where you need it. Let's begin.
Gather all the important documents and cards together.
I shared below the important paper documents to keep them safe for future use. Keep in mind, you may have additional items that you need to keep indefinitely so this list is not complete.
First, create a list of items you need to have in a secure place and start to bring these items together in one folder. These items will be organized later on in this post. So, for now, just gather these items. Feel free to click the link below to see the post this image came from.
Now that you have the items together. You will need to get the following items.
Items needed for this DIY Important Document Fireproof Safe
1- Fireproof safe box
1 packet of Poly File Jackets (you may need more)
1-2 packs of multi-colored manilla folders to match the jackets
Label maker to make labels
First, buy a fireproof safe.
Let's get the fireproof safe you will need for this step. Here is the before picture of the fireproof safe.
Portable fireproof safes are great for homes and apartments to keep all these items secure. The product I like to use for my clients is top-opening ones that look like filing bins, but you can use the other ones with the front opening with the plastic pockets that I use in this post. Below are fireproof safes I found on Amazon (affiliate). Note: if you click through and purchase one, I will receive a small referral fee at no cost to you. Happy shopping.
Get Five Poly File Jacket file folders to start.
The other supplies you will need are these plastic 1-inch pocket folders. They also have ones with the hanging folder bar going across, but for this purpose, it is not necessary. They fit perfectly fine in the safe.
I bought them from Amazon.com (affiliate). Below I show both the pocket folders and the ones that are hanging folders.
You will also need multi-colored manilla folders.
I purchased Pendaflex two-tone folders that come in four colors, Red, yellow, green, and blue. They match up pretty well with the other poly file folder pockets above. Below are the ones I found on Amazon (affiliate).
The Five Sections in the Fireproof Safe.
Now, let's get down to it now that you have all the supplies needed. The fireproof safe will be organized in sections as follows:
The Purple section is for the cards:
The Purple folder will house all the cards you probably have all around your home. The cards that go in this section are as follows:
Voter registration cards
Social Security cards
Travel reward cards
Store reward cards
Restaurant reward cards
Clothing reward cards
You will need a place to organize cards (credit cards to reward cards). Spend the time now and organize them by the group.
The purple folder will house the cards you have. But, instead of placing all the cards in the pocket folder, we are going to organize them in business card sleeves. Depending on how many cards you have to organize, you will need to determine the amount you need. Below are some I found on Amazon (affiliate).
Below are the things you need to organize the cards:
1 box of Business card sleeves (sheets)
1 binder clip
Label maker - label
To organize the cards in these sleeves, divide them into groups. Below are some group titles you can use.
Credit Cards - from stores and banks
Travel reward cards - from airline companies
Store reward cards - from grocery stores
Restaurant reward cards - from dining out or delivery/take out places.
Clothing reward cards - from clothing or shoe stores
Misc. Cards - cards that do not fit in any of the other categories.
Then write the group name on the sticky tab and attach it to the business card sleeve (sheet). Use the binder clip to clip all the sleeves together and slide them in the purple folder. They will stand up easier with the binder clip.
These are tabs I found on Amazon (affiliate).
Tip: if you want to remember what is in the business card section, you can use a permanent marker and write the card name for that card's section itself. This way, if someone takes the card, you know which card is missing.
The Red Section is for important documents and account information.
This would include the passports, a list of your accounts if you made one, any important stock papers, car ownership papers, copies of your 401k account numbers and/or retirement accounts, social security information sheets from the Social Security Agency, and a list of all your investment account numbers.
Have a folder for each of the companies you have paperwork for. If you have several 401K plans, you can place them in one folder. Same with the investment accounts. This section should also include an investment account numbers list where you have your contact person's information, website, log in, and account number.
The Blue section is for the health insurance policies and documents.
You will have manila folders in blue that will hold: Medical insurance information, long-term and short-term disability policy info., dental insurance, vision insurance, and flexible spending account information.
The Green section is for other insurances.
The Green folders will be for other insurances. This section would include the homeowner insurance policy, auto policy, property insurance policy, boat policy, and motorcycle insurance policy. Be sure to remove older policies when you get new ones in so it doesn't fill up too fast.
And, the Yellow section is for wills and life insurance.
The Yellow folders will be used for the wills, life insurance, directives, living will, and power of attorney documents. Have only one folder for each insurance company you have. It makes it easier when they send you updated information and you need to swap up the paperwork.
You may want to buy extra manila folders just in case you need them in the future.
Adult children's personal important documents are in the fireproof safe.
If you have adult children living in your home or off to college, create a section just for them in your fireproof safe, as well.
Your adult children can also have a space in the fireproof safe in your home. It's super helpful if they need something, and you can find it easily for them when they are traveling or in college.
Make a poly jacket section just for them in a completely different color poly folder. Some manila folders to add to their section are passport cards, birth certificates, life insurance, car insurance if different than yours, reward cards in their name, important cards and documents they may have, and car ownership papers.
By doing this now, when they actually move out, you will have all their stuff organized for them and can purchase a fireproof safe as a gift for them. It's a win, win for everyone.
Below is the after image. What do you think? Would you try this for your important documents?
Well, there you have it, I hope this helps you and your family keep all your important documents in one place. Please leave a comment below with any questions you may have when doing this project. I would love to hear from you.
Below are some additional posts from our blog that will help you manage papers for you and your family.
Below are some additional articles I found online about how to organize important documents. Please feel free to click through and check them out.
How to Organize Your Important Documents from Dave Ramsey