Everyone is guilty of holding on to documents for too long. Whether you feel like it has real value, or you're keeping it for fear of needing it, this can create quite a bit of unnecessary clutter.
Yes, there are some records you need to keep, but surprisingly, many documents you don't need and can shred and recycle.
How long you keep documents is dependent on what it is. Use this checklist to help you determine if there are some documents you've held onto for far too long or if you've done the right thing by keeping them.
- Receipts: Unless you need them for tax purposes or need warranty information, shred and recycle them. Finally, you can get rid of all those grocery receipts!
- Utility Bills: Keep them for one month after you pay the balance. You might want to save one if you need proof of address.
- Pay Stubs and Bank Statements: Keep for one year in case you need proof of income. If you need past bank statements, call your financial institution for help getting copies.
- Medical Bills: Keep for one year as a record of what you paid. Keep any disputed bills until you resolve the issue, and there's no question about what you owe.
- Tax Statements and Documents: Keep for five to ten years. You might need this information if you're audited or need to show these documents to a mortgage lender.
- Warranty Information: Keep until the warranty expires, then shred and recycle.
- Property Records: Keep documents like titles, deeds, mortgage statements and insurance information for as long as you have the loan. And even after you no longer owe the loan, keep these records for the next ten years.
- Personal Records: Keep records like birth certificates, adoption records, social security cards, passports, marriage licenses and wills forever. File them in a safe place where your loved ones can also find them if they need them.
If you have other documents or records you're still not sure about, contact the office. We can discuss what's important to keep and what you can get rid of.