the fine art of filing
I have to work hard to overcome my pack-rat tendencies; particularly when it comes to paperwork, I have a hard time throwing anything away. This short article, which I clipped from a newspaper (I have forgotten which.) at some point (I have forgotten when.), has helped me a lot in reducing filing-cabinet clutter.
To keep on top of finances it is important to have a simple, easy-to-use, uncluttered filing system. Here are some of the important documents worth filing and how long to keep them.
- Unless you deduct home business expenses, throw out old phone bills, old utility bills and supermarket receipts.
- Save store receipts, credit card statements and canceled checks for at least one year.
- Save credit card agreements, loan agreements, warranties and home-improvement receipts for at least three years.
- In a fire safety box store birth certificates, death certificates, marriage license, immunization records, passports, divorce decrees and settlement agreements, wills, life-insurance policies and copies of your bank account numbers.
Althought slightly dated, these guidelines serve me pretty well, even now that we're well into the information age. An important detail the original article doesn't mention is that EVERY FILED ITEM SHOULD BE DATED, ideally with a "DISPOSE ON:" label, so that cleaning out old junk is easy and quick.