Feb 18, 2014

It’s amazing how much power a piece of paper can have on your life. Some control your finances, other’s your marital status, and some even control your identity. If you are a little confused about what you need to keep and how long you need to keep them, here is a quick summary.


Some things you only need to keep for about a month. Things like printed receipts and bank statements are only needed for as long as it takes for you to check them against your monthly bills/accounts. As long as everything matches up, you are free to shred. And do shred! Un-shredded they could be used for identity theft, credit card theft, etc.


There are a few different categories of things that need to be kept long term.

Tax Documents – anything that you used for taxes or that have to do with taxes, keep at least 6-7 years. This includes W2 forms, credit statements, tax returns, etc.

Warranties – any purchase you made that includes a warranty, keep until the warranty is up. This could be from six months to lifetime.

Major Purchases/Investments – keep documentation for any large purchases or investments for as long as you own that item or investment. These things include car, home, bike, property, and expensive appliances/technological devices (i.e. stove and laptop).


Finally, there are some things that you need to keep for life. Mostly, these documents are about you. Keep birth certificates, adoption papers, citizenship papers, social security cards, divorce decrees, medical records, wills, etc. forever. Keep these documents secure and safe.

By protecting your important documents, you protect yourself from identity theft, damages, losses, false-accusations and other common problems.

How do you like to organize your important documents? Share with us below!

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