Help! What paperwork do you "have to" keep, and for how long? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 02-02-2006, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I always get this confused.

Which things must you keep, for legal or tax purposes, and how long before you can purge them? Some tax stuff is for seven years, some stuff you're supposed to keep "forever"... What about credit card statements and other bills? I have saved TOO MANY things and I want to get rid of as much as I can, but if I just shred it all without looking at it I know there will be something I'll "need" later... {sigh}

I need to come up with a system where I store it sensibly and then purge it once a year. If you have done this, what is your plan?

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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#2 of 6 Old 02-05-2006, 09:12 AM
 
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Well here's one article that I know of that lists what to keep:

"Your Important Papers: What to Keep"

I'm sure if you do an Internet serach you can find some more.

Hope that helps.

Loon , dh , dd , and twins ds1 dd2 **Thoughts become things. - Mike Dooley**
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#3 of 6 Old 02-05-2006, 07:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the link. I need to read that site over again after I take a deep breath. I guess what I am looking for is a "minimalist" list...that list seems pretty complicated.

Though I mentioned to DH that I was planning to find out what the must-keep paperwork was...and he said "don't worry, I just threw everything out." I don't think he really meant everything! But at least I know HE doesn't care what I keep.

Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks. I will google a bit - and see if I can pare that list down a bit.

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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#4 of 6 Old 02-06-2006, 04:46 AM
 
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Oh, man, I'm so glad to have found this board!!!! I have boxes of old bank statements, etc, that I MOVED with us five years ago from our apartment. Not to mention the boxes that have been added. I don't know how to sort it all, what to file, what to shred, what can just go in the trash/recycle bin. How do I go through all that stuff?????!!!!!


Also, is there any reason I need to keep utility or credit card statements after they've been paid in full? Thanks.

I've just gone through some old magazines, cutting out articles and recipes I wanted and tossing the rest of the magazine. It felt good.
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#5 of 6 Old 02-06-2006, 08:32 AM
 
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amyamanda, there are shorter lists out there. The one I gave was the only one I could find bookmarked at the time.
Here's are 2 more I found from google: Important papers to keep
What Records to Keep
I hope those are a bit better.


julie128, I only keep credit card statements and utility bills for a year. After that I toss/shred them. With my credit cards, I don't even get paper statements anymore, went "paperless" and I check them online.

However, if you are closing an account, it can't hurt to keep that last paid statment showing "paid in full" for just a bit longer.

*Also IMO, I would make sure you always keep a copy of the account number, especially for credit cards. *
It helps to be able to check it against your credit report, even if it's an old account, because positive and negative information stays on the credit report for years. It seems that every year I check my credit report, there is a name of a company where I think "but I don't/didn't have a card with them" and then realize what account it is b/c of the account number. Seems these banks are merging so much these names, the names are always changing.

Hope all this helps.

Loon , dh , dd , and twins ds1 dd2 **Thoughts become things. - Mike Dooley**
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#6 of 6 Old 02-06-2006, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for those other links, Loon! That is helpful. I am trying not to feel overwhelmed by this - I figure if I pare down our paperwork and keep with it a simple list of the "rules" on what to keep, I won't ever again save something I don't really need "just in case." What a relief it will be not to be drowning in questionable papers, as I have for my whole adult life so far. Thanks.

Amanda, mom to Everest (12), Alden (10-1/2), Ellery (7-1/2), & Avery (6)
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