Sorting through piles of yellowing documents can be a daunting task—especially if you’re not sure what to chuck and what to save. Give the new year a fresh, clean start by following these guidelines.
KEEP INDEFINITELY the birth and death certificates, passports, visas, custody and adoption papers, health records, marriage, divorce, annulment, and legal separation papers, military discharge letters, and tax returns.
KEEP FOR A SPECIFIED TIME papers such as auto titles and registration (for as long as you own the vehicle), Check registers and bank statements (as needed for tax records), loan papers (seven years after the loan is paid off), pay stubs (until W-2 is confirmed by year-end statement), property deeds and mortgage papers (seven years after you sell the property, and records to support tax returns: bills, receipts and canceled checks for your deductions (seven years).
TOSS IMMEDIATELY utility stubs that aren’t tax deductible, credit card statements (unless they contain deductible business expenses), expired insurance policies (although some experts suggest retaining them, in case of lat claims), and warranties, manuals, and receipts for items you no longer own.
Published in: Personal Organization