Over at Lifehacker, they have an interesting short article and discussion about starting a filing system for all of your important documents to avoid the paper clutter of keep everything in filing cabinets or cardboard boxes. While I do agree with a lot of what they are discussing, I personally think they are making it too difficult and beyond the scope of most people’s needs. They are taking about OCR scanners and tagging files and other things that just are not necessary for the majority of people. Important documents just need to be backed up; that is the most important part above all other concerns. Not enough people do this, never mind categorizing their documents.
I have mentioned on this site before the importance of having an emergency kit which includes your financial documents and how we have done it here in our house. The most important, key thing for you to do is to make sure you have backups of any and all important documents; insurance, banking, personal info, etc.. And as much as we try to be paper-free in our house, sometimes you cannot get away from having to print something out. But even then if it is important, I do scan it and back it up.
I can appreciate the article at Lifehacker, but I think it is more geared toward the person living the ultimate digital life and not your average household. Just remember, back things up on your computer, a portable drive and somewhere outside of your home, and you will be 90% ahead of the game.