7 Important Documents It’s OK to Trash
And rid yourself of paper clutter
We’re not saying you’re a hoarder, but there are definitely a handful of paper docs that are taking up too much of your life. First, you’ll need a shredder. (Identity theft is real.) Now, get to work weeding out the following no-longer-necessary docs.
Keep them for a month just to be on the safe side, but once you verify the transaction against your bank statement, you no longer need the paper copy. (If you’re an online-banking whiz, you really don’t need receipts at all.)
If the window for returns has passed (or the warranty has expired), it’s fine to get rid of the paper copies--even for big-ticket items. One exception: If the receipt is tax-related. (In that case, you should hold onto it for at least three years after you file your return.)
CREDIT CARD STATEMENTS
After a year, unless it has a tax-related expense on it, these guys can go straight to the shredder. Just be sure you cross-check them for accuracy once a month against your online statement before you toss.
OLD LOAN STATEMENTS
You paid off your college debt in 2007. Now that you’re in the financial clear, you no longer need all the records of your loan. Keep the record that states your debt has been paid off in full. Trash the rest.
After a year, these can be tossed. (We repeat, unless there is a tax-related purpose.)
OK, this one’s not as immediate. But the definitive time frame for keeping tax documents is seven years. The IRS can request up to six years of past returns if they decide to audit you. After that, unless you plan on referring back to your old returns on the regular, you're A-OK to throw them out.
Sure, it’s tempting to hold onto these guys for sentimental reasons, but technically as soon as your new passport arrives in the mail, the old one can be tossed (and by toss we mean shred). If you do decide to keep it (you win, travel stamps!), just be sure it’s stashed in a spot that’s both safe and secluded (so you never confuse it with your current one).