What to Keep and What to Trash

What to Keep and What to Trash

With the push to going paperless becoming so popular these days, more and more people have become slightly confused as to which documents have to go, and which ones should be kept. After all, there is no clear distinction and no given rule as to which ones should stay.

However, common sense dictates the guide to proper selection. There are some documents that need to be kept by your side as the hard copies are needed for various transactions. On the other hand, there are documents which can just be eliminated from your list of important documents.

Documents to Keep

The documents that you need to keep as hard copy are the ones in which you will be required to present an original copy in certain transactions. Examples are the following:

  • Birth Certificate

Your Birth Certificate is the most important document that you need to keep. This is the proof of your existence. Most legal transactions require you to present the original copy of your birth certificate, and thus, you need to have it at all times.

  • Marriage Certificate

Marriage certificate is the proof of your status in the society. It also determines your eligibility in several transactions. Most of these transactions would require the submission of the original document, rather than a copy of the document.

  • Passports / ID cards

Passports and ID cards also prove your identity; passports enable you to travel outside the country. The original hard copy of these documents is required every time you request a transaction.

  • Residency Permit

This document is very important to prove your residency in your neighbourhood.

  • Licenses

This includes your driver license, skill licenses, and others. Most of the time, the original documents are needed in several transactions.

Documents to Trash

These documents are mostly the ones you receive on a day to day basis. However, read through the rest of the article to find out which ones should be eliminated ‘temporarily’, and the ones that can be trashed ‘permanently’.

  • Grocery store receipts

You may opt to keep your grocery receipts for a year, or for tax purposes. However, these documents should not be kept for a long time. Once they get stacked up, they would likely consume space, and not to mention clutter in your house.

  • Online marketing offers

These online marketing offers are usually what take up most of your mailbox space. Some of these letters are not even opened at all. If you think you no longer need these documents, search online for opt out options in order to remove your name from the sending list.



Additional Tips

There are some documents that you need to ‘temporarily’ keep, as opposite to keeping them permanently. To make sure that documents management is accurately followed, it is recommended to keep ALL papers for 1 year. After a year, a sorting process needs to be done.

All bank statements, pension plan documents, and work receipts should be kept and stored for another 2 years. All items aside from the mentioned ones should be shredded.

After 2 years, at the end of 3 years, mortgage documents should be kept for another 4 years. All other ones should be shredded.

At the end of the period, everything should be scanned and destroyed.

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