Since I work from home and have hoarder tendencies, I tend to keep a lot of paperwork around. It's not as bad as it used to be but I could stand to let things go. I justify that I need to keep everything b/c I saw Erin Brockovich years ago and we might need something for tax purposes.
But most normal people don't need to keep a ton of paperwork. What do you need to keep or toss or shred? Unless you are keeping things for tax purposes, below is a handy guide.
Toss and/or shred
~Credit card statements
As soon as you are finished paying and reconciling, toss or shred. Want to keep track of monthly bills but don't want to end up a paper hoarder like me? Use this bill tracker!
Keep for one year
~Medical records unless needed for insurance purposes. And hey! I have a way for you to keep track of this too!
Keep for about six years
~Tax records, including copies of returns and supporting documents
~Documents relating to the purchase or sale of a home, or payment for home improvements
~Insurance records should be kept as long as the policy is in effect, plus five more years
~IRA and retirement contribution documents until you withdraw the money, but shred quarterly statements
~Warranty documents for the length of the warranty
~Birth, marriage, divorce, death certificates, Social Security cards, deeds, wills, car titles for as long as you own the car
At the end of the month, after all the bills have been paid and I have balanced the accounts, I toss and shred all the paperwork. You can also look for community paper shredding events near you. About 3 times a year, along with glass recycling and household hazardous waste collection, our city has a big event where you can drop off all your paper and they will shred it for you for free.
With this system, you hopefully won't end up dead under a pile of papers, like I might.
Organize along with me in The Good Wife's Weekly Organization Challenges