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How to Organize Important Documents at Home Before Moving Internationally

Lucy Lucas June 21, 2022
Posted June 21, 2022 In How-to, Moving Tips&Tricks,
Lucy Lucas

Born and raised in Miami Lucy is a content writer with a love of moving and packing. She is an expert at making sure everything fits into her suitcase.

If you are planning on moving overseas, you have probably already heard that an international relocation requires lots of tedious paperwork. This is why it is super important to know how to organize important documents at home before you start preparing the necessary documentation for moving abroad. Once everything is properly managed and prepared, it will make collecting documentation for the relocation process much more efficient.

If you want to know how to organize documents simply and easily, know that there are a few valuable tips and hacks you can apply. First, you must know what kind of documentation is the most important, so you can place them in different categories. There are also plenty of organizational supplies that can be super useful for storing all your crucial documentation.

Why Is It Important to Know How to Organize Important Documents at Home?

Many people are not aware of the importance of documentation when it comes to relocating abroad. If you are planning to live overseas, you must give yourself enough time to prepare all the paperwork needed for the relocation. If you are one of those people who keep their documentation all over your house, in different rooms, and in different containers, it’s time to make a change.

Keeping personal files at your house neat and organized will help you with preparing them for the relocation. This is why learning how to organize important papers should be one of the crucial tasks on your to-do list. If you want to know how to manage important papers and make everything more well ordered – keep reading.

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Which Important Documentation Should You Be Organizing?

Before we start discussing how to store important documents at home and how to keep important documents organized, we should first explain which papers are considered important. Most of these papers are necessary if you are planning on living in another country, getting a job there, and finding an apartment to rent or buy. So before you start packing for relocating abroad, make sure you first have all of the vital documentation. Here is a list of all the documentation that must be on your relocation checklist and that you must gather:

  • Identification documentation,
  • Birth certificates,
  • Social Security cards,
  • Tax returns,
  • Academic records,
  • Passports,
  • Jury duty proof,
  • Life insurance,
  • Testament or will,
  • Medical and health records,
  • Power of attorney,
  • Employment records,
  • Retirement records,
  • Mortgage files,
  • Marriage certificate,
  • Car titles.

Gather Papers Needed for Traveling Abroad

If your plan is to move across the world and start a life in a new country, you should carefully inform yourself about all the documentation you must prepare for that process. Creating a life in a new country means you must prepare tons of documentation, including applying for a visa, updating your identification records, changing your address, and other similar tasks.

So if you’re planning on relocating to a new country, start gathering the documentation needed for traveling abroad months ahead. If you are hiring an international moving company to help you out with the process, contact them to find out which paperwork you must prepare for shipping as well. They can help you with preparing specific documentation, such as relocation insurance.

Gather the Right Supplies for Organizing the Records

If you were ever wondering – what is the best way to organize important documents? – we are here to give you the answer. If you are planning on shopping soon, be sure to put organization supplies on the list. If you are not sure how to store important documents properly, these supplies will be of great help.

Having these supplies by your side while preparing for a relocation is one of the best moving hacks you could use. You will see that they will make the organizational process ten times more efficient, and you won’t have any trouble finding specific documentation when needed. Here’s what you must gather:

  • Binders and dividers – consider getting durable and heavy-duty binders that last longer and stand better when you put them in bags.
  • Sheet protectors are super helpful when dividing different types of documentation or filling it together.
  • File folders that are going to keep everything in proper order.
  • Labels and labeling stickers are super helpful when it comes to filing different types of paperwork. You can place them on each file to name the category that is inside.
  • Document sleeves are also great for protecting specific necessary documentation. It’s best to get plastic sleeves that are see-through so you can keep track of the paperwork easily.
  • Sticky notes can be helpful if you have similar files, and you should have a way to distinguish them.
  • Medium-size boxes in which you can easily place your records so they don’t bend and get damaged.

Declutter Your Documentation and Get Rid of All the Unnecessary Papers

When it comes to relocating efficiently, decluttering is one of the crucial relocating tips and steps everyone must take in order to relocate quickly. This rule also goes out for documentation that you are organizing at your house before you move. There is no need to carry all of your mail with you to a different country.

Once you start going through all the papers and examining each container where you keep them, you will probably find out that plenty of them are probably not up to date. This is why you should get rid of anything that has no value anymore and is not practical and mostly goes out to contracts that are completed and insurance policies that have expired a long time ago.

Since these records can be discarded, you can either throw them away or recycle them. Recycling is always a good option if you want to do something nice for the environment. You can go to the American Forest & Paper Association to find out more about where you can recycle unnecessary papers.

Sort Out the Records Into Different Categories

What is the best way to organize paperwork at home? The answer to this question is – categorizing. Separating all the documentation into different categories will help you a lot and make the entire process easier. If you are not sure what the basic filing system is, you can easily find different ideas on the internet. However, here are some that we consider the most appropriate and easiest:

Personal documentation

This is the category where you should place all of your and your family’s personal records. This includes medical records, employment appearances, school and academic records, birth certificates, Social Security numbers, and other similar paperwork.

Financial documentation

Everything regarding finances should be kept in this category. This is especially important for your relocation budget and balancing finances abroad. It’s good to have one specific file folder that will help you keep track of it all.

Household documentation

Paperwork concerning your entire household should be kept separately. This includes mortgage documentation, house deed, insurance, and similar stuff.

Arrange and Place Each Pile of Records Into a Separate File

Once you separate all this documentation into piles, you can start placing them into files and folders. Each of the stacks should represent one category, but you can divide it into smaller paper holders and sheet protectors. You can have a separate file for each family member. The way you decide to categorize the sheets is completely up to you.

If you need some more helpful information or tips on organizing important documents, you can find plenty of educational videos on Youtube. Here’s one that could be very helpful.

Where Should I Store Important Documents at Home?

Most people are not sure about where to store important documents and which place is the safest. It is considered by the majority that the best way to protect your documentation is to get a lockbox or a secure container that will be able to keep all your files in one place. This will make finding needed documentation much easier once everything is in one spot.

Where to Keep Documentation When Relocating Abroad

Now that you know the answer to How do I keep important documents at home, we can talk about where to keep them when relocating. Should you be shipping overseas your documentation with the rest of your house inventory? No, definitely not, because this is one of the biggest relocation mistakes.

As a matter of fact, personal documentation is included in the items movers won’t move, and not a single reputable overseas moving company will allow you to place them into boxes and ship them. It is best to keep these files close to you for the entire trip. They should be placed into one unique bag, which should be one of the relocation essentials. Set up everything before the actual moving day preparations start and save yourself from unnecessary relocating stress.

Consider Keeping Your Records Online

Since we already live in the digital era, it is always wise to use all of the benefits our time and the technological revolution have given us. Instead of messing around with a bunch of paper documentation, you can quickly transfer them all to your computer, on a hard drive, or the cloud. Having a digital backup can be very helpful. You can use a scanner and digitalize all the essential records, so you always have backups in case something happens to the original ones.

Keep All Your Records on One Account

There are plenty of apps you can use for organizing your digitized documentation. Just as if you would place all your material documentation in one place, you should put all your digitized files on one account. You can send the folder to your email and keep it there. However, it’s always a good idea to store them on a cloud and a hard drive. This way, you will have multiple ways to access your documentation in case of an emergency.

Once You Are Done Organizing Your Documentation, You Can Start Focusing on the Rest of the Relocation Process

Once you are done with this significant task, you can easily focus on other relocation matters. Our advice is to contact an overseas shipping company and book their packing services, as they can help you have an efficient move. This way, you can focus more on finding a new perfect house overseas, learning a language, or having fun preparing a to-do list. Now that your documentation is organized, you are free to relax!



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