Published on September 17th, 2014 | by Katherine Denton
What to keep and what to shred
Are you holding on to papers longer than you need to?
Drowning in Paper? You’re not alone. Many of us hang on to paper because we are unsure if we need to keep it or for how long. Some common questions I get as a daily money manager and professional organizer include: How long do I need to keep my tax returns, credit card statements, insurance papers? You can find the answers to these and more in the handy guide below which comes from USA.gov.
Your Documents and How Long to Keep Them
Bank statements: 1 year, unless needed to support tax filings
Birth certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, passports, education records, military service records: Forever
Contracts: Until updated
Credit card records: Until paid, unless needed to support tax filings
Home purchase and improvement records: As long as you own the property
Household inventory: Forever; update as needed
Insurance, life: Forever
Insurance, car, home, etc.: Until you renew the policy
Investment statements: Shred your monthly statements; keep annual statements until you sell the investments
Investment certificates: Until you cash or sell the item
Loan documents: Until you sell the item the loan was for
Real estate deeds: As long as you own the property
Receipts for large purchases: Until you sell or discard the item
Service contracts and warranties: Until you sell or discard the item
Social Security card: Forever
Social Security statement: When you get your new statement online, shred the old one
Tax records: 7 years from the filing date
Vehicle titles: Until you sell or dispose of the car
Will: Until updated
Source: USA.gov 2014
As our country heads towards a more paperless society, professional shredding has become big business. In Macon we have many options to choose from. Many companies, like Shred-X, Shred Monster and Shred-it, will come to you and shred your papers onsite. Most charge by the pound and have a $75 minimum charge for coming to you. Another option is to bring your boxes to Schnitzer Macon (formerly Macon Iron and Paper Stock). They charge by the pound. Five average size banker’s boxes will run about $30.
You can free up a lot of space in your file drawers by letting go of papers you no longer need to keep. And it will make it easier to find the papers that you do need to keep. If you feel nervous about letting certain papers go, take pictures or scan them and put them on a flash drive. Going paperless definitely has its advantages which is a good topic for another issue. For now, follow the list and let go of some paper!