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  • Kim Miller, Your Professional Organizer

Important Papers-What to Keep, Toss & When


Tax season is the perfect time to start tackling all of those paper piles. Financial records can be divided into 4 categories:

  • · papers kept for a year or less

  • · ones that can be destroyed when you no longer own the items they cover

  • · tax records, which you should save for seven years

  • · papers to keep indefinitely


Keep these docs at home


Documents When to toss (shred) them

Bank deposit slips After you reconcile your statements

Banking statements After a calendar year; store with tax returns

401 K, IRA, other investment statements Shred monthly and quarterly stmts. as new ones arrive;

hold on to annual statements until you sell the invest

Credit-card bills After you check and pay them, unless you need them to

support tax filings

Household warranties and receipts After you no longer own the household items

Insurance policies After you renew them

Investment purchase confirmations and 1099s Hold until you sell the securities, then keep with your

tax records for an additional seven years

Pay stubs After you reconcile them with your W-2

Receipts After you reconcile them with your credit-card or bank

statement unless needed for a warranty

Safe-deposit box inventory Never, but review and update annually

Savings bonds Cash them in when they mature

Social Security statements When you get a new statement, then shred the old one

Tax returns and supporting documents After seven years

Keep these Docs in a safe-deposit box or locked-box


Documents When to toss them

Birth and death certificates Never

Estate-planning documents Never. Also give copies to your attorney and executor

Life-insurance policies Never, or when a term policy has ended

Loan documents After you sell your home, automobile, boat, etc.

Marriage licenses / divorce decrees Never

Military discharge papers Never

Social Security cards Never

Vehicle titles After you sell the car, boat, motorcycle, or other vehicle



Kim's Organizing Solutions

Professional Organizer


Information provided by Consumer Reports Money Adviser.