Woody Allen said “80% of success is showing up.” In rental property management, I would suggest that 80% of success is staying organized.

For example, knowing;

  • where critical information is located for when you need to find it quickly;
  • when leases are going to expire so you can work on renewing or finding a new tenant; or
  • where past financial statements like 1099’s and owner statements are located for less painful tax prep each April.

Email Folder Creation

With this in mind, I thought I would share some basics on how to become more organized in the four most popular email systems by using folders.  Below are the simple steps to create folders in Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and Hotmail:


  1. Go to left side of your inbox and click “More”
  2. Select “Create New Label”
  3. Create a name and for bonus organization points, assign a “Nest Label”


  1. Open “Folder” tab
  2. Select “New Folder”
  3. Create a name and for bonus organization points, select where to place the folder
  4. Click “OK”


  1. Hover over the “Folders” option and click the “+” icon
  2. Create a Folder name and click “OK”
  3. To create a subfolder, right click an existing folder and follow the same process as above

Hotmail (also called Microsoft Live):

  1. Go to left side of your inbox and select the “More Actions for Folders” icon
  2. When the menu appears, click “New”
  3. Create a folder name and click “Save”

Now you might be asking, “OK. Now that I have created these folders, what should I name them?”

Folder Naming Structure

Here are my folder recommendations, at a minimum, for each of your rental properties.

Address Name (ex. 1234 Main Street):

  1. Current Lease
  2. Past Leases
  3. Property Management Agreement
  4. Property Management Agreement–amendments
  5. Monthly Detailed Owner Statements
  6. Tax Return related documents (1099’s, etc)
  7. Property Purchase documents
  8. Property Sale documents
  9. Move In/Out reports
  10. Emails from Property Manager

But Dan, I HATE email. I’m a paper gal/guy. Well, I’ve got good news for you! This organizational system works for regular paper folders, too.  So fire up your label maker, grab a stack of manila folders, and rock out to your label makin’ music! You’ve got this rental property management down.

You’ll be happier.

You’ll be more efficient.

You’ll be thin.

You’ll be rich.

Ok, well…I know you’ll definitely get the first 2, not sure on the 3rd, and you’ll definitely be headed in the right direction for the 4th!