Organizing Important Papers: The Safe

In my next post, I am showing you how I organize our home files. First, I want to show you what I do with our important papers. I decide what goes in this category based on: “what papers would be difficult to replace if my house burned down”. Lovely thought, I know.

This includes obvious things like birth certificates and passports, but also important things like insurance papers and immunization records.

We don’t have a ton of things, so a small water and fireproof safe is adequate. I found a good safe at Walmart, but I’m sure they are at any home office store.

how to keep important papers safe at home

Inside the safe, papers folded in half fit perfectly with a bit of room to spare. So these half-document-sized envelopes are just the right size. To keep things organized inside, I use a different envelope for each category. Our envelopes include:

  • *One for each person with their important stuff
  • Vehicle titles
  • Insurance papers (home insurance contacts in case of an emergency)
  • A CD of wedding and baby pictures with some printed pictures
  • Anything else important

On the front of every envelope, I label the contents, and list a description of the papers inside. This makes thumbing through the safe to look for a specific document super easy. And gathering all the paperwork registering kids for school was a breeze, I just brought their envelopes with me to register. Everything was already in one place!

basics of keeping documents safe in an emergency

This little safe helps me feel more ready for emergencies! And it was easy to put together. I know I’ve seen a lot of emergency binders on Pinterest that hold all of this kind of information. I’m sure a binder would be nice to have too for different reasons, but what I like about the safe is that it is Fireproof and Waterproof, so if my home burned down while I was on vacation, my hope is that the contents of my Important Papers Safe would still be intact.

What do you do with your family’s important papers?

Stay safe and turn off the oven when you leave your house,

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10 thoughts on “Organizing Important Papers: The Safe

  1. I’ve seen the safes at Walmart, & every time I walk by them i tell myself i really need to get 1 of those—for just the reason you stated!. Where do you find the 1/2 file envelopes? Thanks for the kick in the ars

  2. This is a good idea. However, depending on the fire, the safe may not be enough. My family lost our home to a fire a few months ago and we were never allowed to sift through the ashes or get our safe due to possible chemical contamination from our large appliances, etc. Our insurance company told us this was very common and reccomended getting a safety deposit box at the bank.

    I also recommend making sure digital photos are backed up online or on a hard drive in a different location. I dont want anyone to ever have to go through what we did.

  3. We are thinking about getting a safe for our documents. But what about burglary? Wouldn’t they take the safe first? There could be something interesting for them inside.

    1. I worry about that too, which is why I hide the safe. If Burglar’s found it, then that could be problematic. I have a very good security system which helps me feel a little safer from burglars, though.

Leave a comment! I love to hear what you think!