official paperwork

4 quick tips to keep your car documents and paperwork organised

20th Mar, 2020

As all drivers know, unfortunately there’s more to owning a car than simply driving it. Ownership also involves a fair amount of paperwork, most of which you won’t need in your day-to-day life until the day comes when you finally scrap your car. Plenty of car owners still routinely find themselves unprepared for that moment, and we’ve still regularly find ourselves reassuring customers asking ‘what happens if I’ve lost my V5C?’ If you’re still happily driving your current motor, that means you can save yourself a lot of hassle by keeping yourself organised with your car’s paperwork. Of course, we recognise that’s easier said than done, so we’ve got a few tips to help out!

Create a system, and get categorising

Right off the bat, the idea of ‘creating a system’ might be making you inwardly groan – but it doesn’t have to be an intensive, all-night kind of task. At its core, it’s just a matter of having one pile of paperwork separate from another. How you choose to do that is up to you. It can help to have box files, or display folders, or even filing cabinets. Post it notes and bulldog clips are other common organisational tools. What we’d recommend, though, is having a crack at it before going out and buying anything. Otherwise, you can end up wasting money on bits of stationery that end up becoming clutter themselves – which sort of defeats the point!

As for how to organise them, it can help to keep your categories fairly broad-ranging. People tend to choose things like tax, school, household, medical, and car. Or, you might want to do things a different way, grouping all bills together (even if they’re from different organisations), while keeping ‘letters’ as another category, with ‘records’ as another one. Your categories can be as broad or as specific as you’d like, but on the whole we’d suggest that you…

reclaiming car insurance

Keep it simple

If you’re the sort of person who likes to know exactly where you’d find something so you can do the minimum amount of searching each time, you can get really specific with subcategories, folders and subfolders – for example by splitting your ‘medical’ folder into doctors’ letters, receipts, appointments and leaflets. However, most people find that sub-categorising is a task that it’s easy to lose interest in, and trying to be too meticulous with it all can sometimes take up a lot of mental energy that you might not necessarily need to expend.

Instead, as long as everything is grouped roughly into your separate main categories, you’ll generally find that you’ll be able to work out fairly quickly whether or not you’ve got a specific bit of paperwork, and where to find it when you do. If you struggle to keep yourself organised, you might find that you struggle to stay committed to proper filing in the long term anyway – so you might as well save yourself some effort at the outset!

Go digital

In today’s interconnected world, more organisations than ever are going paperless, so you’ll probably find that if you’re willing to ask them, it’s a fairly easy transition to make yourself. Almost all banks will offer you the ability to go paperless, especially since it saves them money on sending things out. What’s more, some companies are even mandated to – most scrap yards, for example, are legally required to process payments online as part of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act, which has been in effect since 2013.

You can save yourself a lot of paperwork by paying a lot of bills online, and saving the files on your computer rather than in a physical folder. It can help to follow basic cybersecurity measures when you do this, too – such as reserving one particular bank card for paying online, and never keeping more money on the account than you need to. (That way, if the details are ever cloned or stolen, the majority of your savings will be safe in another account.) Plus, if you’re storing passwords or other sensitive information on your computer, you can fudge your passwords with asterisks. It pays to be careful!

couple buying online

Commit to keeping yourself clear of clutter (mostly)

Whether you watched Marie Kondo’s show last year or not, you’ve probably heard of her world-famous method: essentially, keep it if it ‘sparks joy’. OK, so not many bills or paperwork might fit that description, but the basic principle is still helpful. When a new bit of paperwork crosses your radar, make an instant decision – are you filing it, querying it with the sender, or throwing it away? Try not to leave it in limbo on the kitchen counter or similar places. Arguably, this is the hardest part, but having letters hanging around elsewhere in the home will defeat all the time and hard work you’ve spent filing away the majority of your correspondence. And if nothing else, training yourself to think like this will generally make sure that if a bit of paperwork is really important, you’ll have filed it safely away.

And trust us, you’ll be grateful of it all when you come to scrap your car! You’ll generally need:

Your V5C (or vehicle logbook)
V5C/3 (the yellow slip from inside the vehicle registration document)
The owner’s manual
Service history
Photo ID to verify the sale, such as your driver’s licence or passport

While you can get away with not having one or two of these items, others are non-negotiable – and if you’ve got them all ready, it does make the process a lot easier and faster.

Of course, here at Scrap Car Network we do everything we can to help you scrap your car with the minimum of fuss and hassle anyway! All you need to do is fill in a few quick details on the fields on our homepage, and we’ll be able to have an online quote for you in seconds. Curious to find out how much your car is worth?

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