Your Important Documents – What You Should Keep and What You Should Discard

It is very easy for anyone to accumulate documents. Most of the time, we end up with a giant pile on our desks, drawers or kitchen cabinets. The pile contains both important and pointless documents like ATM receipts. Same thing applies to electronic-only documents such as receipts from eCommerce sites. They are scattered throughout our email accounts – getting buried under emails. In this blog post, we’ll discuss which documents you should keep and for how long, and which ones should you discard or shred.

Original Documents You Must Keep Forever

These are important documents that you need to keep forever (or until the document is not needed anymore) as opposed to say your tax receipts which you only need to keep for a few years.

  • Birth or Death Certificates – Original. Forever
  • Social Security Cards – Original. Forever
  • Driver’s License or ID Cards – Original and Latest.
  • Passports – Original and Latest.
  • Marriage License or Divorce Certificate – Original. Forever
  • Pension Plan – Original. Forever
  • Wills or Power of Attorney – Original and Latest.
  • Mortgage or House Deeds – Original and Latest.
  • Insurance Policies – Good to have original, but digital copy is sufficient in many cases
  • College Degrees or Certificates – Original. Forever

We highly recommend that you digitize these documents using Paperistic and keep originals in a bank’s safe deposit box or a fire-proof safe to protect them from fire, flood or theft.

Documents You Must Keep for a Period of Time

These are the documents that you only need to keep for some period of time. With most of these documents, you can safely digitize them and discard or shred the original to reduce the paper clutter.

  • Tax Receipts – Keep for up to 7 years. Lose the original. IRS accepts digital.
  • Tax Returns – 5 years. Digital.
  • Bank and Credit Card Statements – 5 years. Digital.
  • Pay Stubs – 5 years. Digital.
  • Medical Records and Bills – At least 5 years. Digital.
  • Warranties – Keep as long as they are valid for.
  • Shopping Receipts – Keep for at least 1 year in case you need to return an item or dispute charges. Digital.
  • Insurance Policies – As long as they are valid.
  • Pet Records – At least for 5 years.

Use Paperistic to Capture Your Documents

Paperistic is a free app that allows you to quickly capture your paper and electronic documents and store them in one central location. Paperistic is designed for document management and all features are tailored for this purpose. It uses bank-level security to protect your information. You can access your documents 24/7, from anywhere. For example, you can capture receipts and statements by taking high quality pictures using the Paperistic app on your SmartPhone and discard or shred original copies to reduce the clutter. Specify a retention policy after which your document will be archived – i.e. you could specify that a shopping receipt be kept for a month in case you want to return an item.

Are you interested in taking the pain out of managing your important paperwork? Please visit our homepage to sign up for Paperistic. Thank you.


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