I'm reorganizing my files, and wondering, what do other people keep? I have a file for bank stuff (statements, deposit slips, etc), one for bills, computer stuff (instruction manual etc), health insurance/medical, lease, legal, school, Verizon (cell phone). What do you keep and for how long?
~ I keep receipts for about a week, unless I know I need it beyond that. I handle our family finances weekly. They get recycled once I visually match them to our accounts via Quicken (and downloads).
~ I keep certain reminders or papers from school for less than a week. DD usually brings home school papers on Mondays and I usually do family finances (and paperwork) on Tuesdays. Most items are taken care of right then and get recycled. Sometimes things come after I've taken care of the weekly finances. It waits for the next go, in most cases.
~ Invoices/bills/whatever we still get in paper form get kept until the payment shows up on our accounts. I mostly only keep things related to taxes or health or just FYI items (personal interest).
~ After I do taxes, I go through the filing drawer and recycle anything we no longer need. Unless it is health-related or FYI-personal interest stuff. (I like to see receipts for durable goods years later. I use certain receipts years later, too, for personal hobbies and such. The vast majority get recycled within a week, though.)
I keep health-related paperwork forever now because I have had to figure things out way long after the fact too many times. I am in the process of creating spreadsheets for each family member to make it easier.
I keep car-related paperwork as long as I own the car. I sold a car to a friend of a friend and handed her the entire history. I now use a spreadsheet and recycle (or refuse) the paper.
I keep annual investment statements forever or until I no longer own it.
I keep the owner's manual only after I've glanced at it to determine it's usefulness. So many are useless these days! The ones that are useful stay with the item for awhile and then get filed. Once every couple years, we'll go through and recycle the ones for items we no longer own.
I recently sold a booster seat to a friend. I was able to give her the manual and the receipt, so she could read it for herself. It was easy to find because it was in the spot where we keep all that stuff. (All items are filed by the generic name of said item, so in that case under "C" for carseat.)
I've changed tactics with bank statements. I used to keep them all. Then, I kept the last one of each year (it showed certain annual info) and all of them for the current year. This is only the case for my oldest account (one) now. All others I don't even receive a paper statement at all. I reconcile via Quicken after each download. SO MUCH EASIER!
I am the treasurer for a non-profit organization (volunteer) and I have to keep more paperwork for that, but I use a folder. One side is unreconciled stuff. Other side is reconciled. When I finalize the annual finances, then the entire fiscal year goes into a large envelope and labeled and given to someone else. Easy!
"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa
I keep deposit tickets, ATM receipts, bank debit slips only as long as I need to see that those transactions registered in on-line banking. I basically keep constant track of our bank information on line so I don't balance at the end of the month, I balance every time I log into on line banking.
I will keep all tax items and all bank statements forever. I had a bizarre incident happen to me where a collection company tried to garnish my wages for an unpaid tax bill that was over 8 years old. (A tax bill I had paid on time) Had I not had that bank statement show the cancelled check, I would have been out of luck.
I keep one or two months of past utility and phone bills and then shred. I used to shred as soon as I paid the bill but once I had to prove residency and it was a pain in the butt as I had to very quickly obtain copies from the utility companies.
Legal, like mortgage/house purchase stuff, I would keep forever because it might have tax implications. (capital gains and such)
I bought file boxes and keep everything in the boxes, with the contents labeled on the outside.