Paper Management Hacks: Vital Records

In the event of an emergency, do you know where your vital records are? If you’re like most people, they’re scattered across several storage areas, because you may not think of certain records as “vital” – and therefore they may be living in a file cabinet, instead of a fireproof safe or a safety deposit box.

But think about this, if you had 10 minutes to evacuate your home, could you put your hands on this list* of records for every person in your family? 

  • Adoption
  • Automobile
  • Birth certificates
  • Credit report
  • Death certificates
  • Divorce decrees
  • Educational records
  • Resume
  • Employment information
  • Household inventory (got you there, didn’t we?)
  • Insurance records (by type)
  • Legal records
  • Marriage certificate
  • Medical records 
  • Military records
  • Passport
  • Power of attorney
  • Religious records
  • Safe-deposit box inventory (and key)
  • Social Security cards
  • Storage inventory
  • Will

*list courtesy Julie Morganstern, Organizing from the Inside Out

Some things you can have a digital copy of – in the cloud – like your credit report, resume and a household inventory. Others you’ll need the originals like a birth certificate and social security cards.

Read More: Paperwork Hacks: Managing all of that household paper

Where to keep them? 

Vital records you don’t need every day can be kept in a safety deposit box (like marriage, birth and divorce records). Others that you may need regularly, like your passport, should be secured in a fireproof box or file in your home. Something that you can quickly grab if you need to evacuate. 

Dawn Dugle is a professional organizer and time management expert.