File or Toss? A Handy Guide for Assessing Your Paperwork

Published Thursday, January 27, 2011 4:38 PM

Forget spring cleaning. January's clean slate mojo often provides a wonderful impetus for closet cleaning and re-organizing. Hoping to purge unnecessary paperwork and fine-tune your home office files for 2011? While it's not always easy to tell if your documents have reached the end of their useful life, most documents, just like milk, eventually expire.

Consult our handy list, assembled courtesy of ConsumerReports.org, for advice on what to save for now, what to keep forever and what can (happily) be tossed.

Short timers: Keep for a year or less

  • Bank records: Keep deposit and ATM receipts until you reconcile them with your monthly statements. File statements until tax time, keep any you need to prove deductions; shred the rest.
  • Credit-card bills: Check them, pay them and shred them unless you need to support a tax deduction. Also keep statements for purchases of items under warranty, shred when warranty expires.
  • Current-year tax records: Keep for the year.
  • Insurance policies: Keep policies that you renew each year and shred the old one's after renewing.
  • Investment statements: Shred monthly statements after the new one arrives. Keep annual statements until you sell the investments.
  • Pay stubs: Keep the calendar year's records until you reconcile them with your annual W-2 form, and then shred them.
  • Household furnishings paperwork: Keep receipts, warranties, and instruction booklets for appliances and electronics. Toss when the warranty expires or you no longer own the item.

 Depends on You: Time frame varies

  • Investment purchase confirmations: Keep to establish your cost basis and holding period when you sell the investments; if this information appears on your annual statements, keep those instead. Once you sell the investment, shred the old statements and move the sales paperwork into this year's tax file.
  • Loan documents: Keep closing documents for mortgage, vehicle, student, and other loans in a safe-deposit box until loan is paid off. Then shred.
  • Savings bonds: Keep in a secure place until you cash them in. Or you can convert them to electronic form using the Treasury's SmartExchange program, at www. Treasureydirect.gov. http://bit.ly/dr88tL
  • Vehicle records: Keep purchase receipts, titles, and registration information in a safe-deposit box as long as you own the car, boat, truck, or other vehicle. Store the maintenance and repair records. Toss when you no longer own.

Seven Years: The magic number for tax documents

  • Federal and state tax returns and their supporting records.
  • Receipts, bank statements, investment statements and all paperwork with tax-related information.

The Long Haul: Essential records to be kept permanently

  • Birth and death certificates
  • Marriage licenses
  • Divorce decrees
  • Social Security cards
  • Military discharge papers
  • Defined-benefit plan documents: pension-plan documents from your current and former employers.
  • Estate-planning documents such as wills, powers of attorney, health care proxy.
  • Life-insurance policies
  • Safe-deposit box inventory: Note the location of the box and your keys, and keep a list of what you have in it.

Keep in mind that if you've gone paperless, storing photos, bank statements and even scanned copies of vital records on your computer, your challenge lies not in purging physical clutter but in ensuring that your files are adequately backed up.

How do you back up important digital records? What type of fling system do you use to keep vital records at your fingertips? Share your thoughts here by posting a comment.

by Bradley Eggers

| More
Filed under:

Comments

# richardfc3@earthlink.net said on Thursday, January 19, 2012 9:57 PM

excellent

# ADidway said on Friday, January 20, 2012 3:47 PM

very helpful.

# sypeneats said on Monday, February 06, 2012 8:08 PM

LardRoyattNoN <a href=http://napechke.com>Anrielelin</a>">http://napechke.com>Anrielelin</a> Vinkbeekhix http://napechke.com - Senanamaso CateAttamedaf http://napechke.com

# buy valtrex online said on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 2:06 AM

http://www.buyvaltrexitem.com/ valtrex generic - valtrex buy online

# buy valtrex online said on Thursday, February 23, 2012 12:21 AM

http://www.buyvaltrexitem.com/ valtrex - buy generic valtrex online

# buy adderall online said on Friday, February 24, 2012 5:48 AM

www.buyadderallitem.com generic adderall online - online adderall

# buy lunesta online said on Sunday, February 26, 2012 6:12 AM

www.trigram.com/.../why-use-acubase buy 2mg lunesta - lunesta buy online

# buy meridia online said on Sunday, February 26, 2012 11:08 AM

www.wallacegalleries.com/.../We-tailor-our-services-to-our-clients-needs.html order meridia - purchase meridia cheap

# Motivation to lose weight said on Sunday, April 08, 2012 5:23 AM

2VuOXm Say, you got a nice blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.

# buy oem software said on Friday, April 27, 2012 3:22 PM

jFm3ui I cannot thank you enough for the blog article.Really thank you! Fantastic.

# oem software said on Wednesday, May 02, 2012 2:32 AM

1mwPLr Very neat blog post.Really thank you! Will read on...

# Engirerie said on Wednesday, June 06, 2012 10:52 PM

Chase On the internet login banking has become the best on the internet financial institutions currently in my opinion.  They provide aggressive costs and seriously do a great task at buidling yoru bank account. Go to <a href=pcinternetbanking.com/.../>www.chase

</a> for your search and you simply can read about it for youreslf.

# drisseisobess said on Sunday, June 17, 2012 5:41 PM

Think about you are touring in your own vehicle and you simply come across a sizable pace breaker inside the center on the route that you simply need to cross. You're feeling not comfortable simply because you are aware your automobile features a inadequate <a href=www.strutmasters.com/>Suspension Parts</a> . On the other hand, in the event you had effective suspension areas mounted, there was no will need to fret about bumps or other similar hurdles. Suspension pieces may help you to cross hurdles around the road efficiently.

Let's look at out the several aspects of a suspension system.

Manage Arm: This really is also called wishbone. The form of the suspension part is sort of triangular. It resembles 'A', so at times additionally it is known as the A-arm. On one particular facet, it's connected to some steering knuckle by using a ball joint, and for the other facet it can be affixed to an arm shaft with bushing.

Bushing: A little but crucial part inside the suspension system. Bushing is generally designed of artificial rubber to individual out its two metal sections. This artificial rubber helps both metallic elements to coordinate efficiently. Furthermore, it helps the suspension areas to move freely when navigating a considerable bump, one example is. You can find polyurethane bushes also readily available within the market which are more long lasting.

Ball Joint: A ball joint can be a spherical bearing. Normally, it can be utilized to be a part of the steering knuckles plus the handle arms. It really is a very important piece among the steering and suspension, and it is actually responsible for harmless operation. The main difference concerning these and also the standard ball joints is lubricants are not necessary for sealed ball joints because they are presently lubed, although regular ball joints require normal lubing else they could result in eliminate management.

Sway Bar: Sway bars can also be known as stabilizer bars. A sway bar is utilized in a vehicle suspension program to reduce jerks brought on by irregular street surfaces. In addition, it assists the automobile to keep a 'grip' about the road so the motive force can steer the car or truck properly, even while turning or during the case of very poor highway surfaces.

Idler Arms & Pitman Arms: Idler and pitman arms depend to the support of steering linkage. An idler arm is fitted to the opposite of pitman arm on the center link. It allows to hold the center link at a proper height by attaching one other end onto the motor vehicle frame. The Pitman arm will help to steer the wheel due to the fact just one of its ends is affixed to the vehicle's steering gear.

The ones discussed here are only some on the auto suspension parts. You can find many much more big and modest elements within the suspension method. Adjusting sleeves, center links, drag links, strut mounts, sway bar links, tie rod ends, wheel hubs, and other very similar parts are also components of auto suspension. Without understanding these parts, you cannot fully understand your vehicle suspension procedure.

# Seo Services said on Monday, July 09, 2012 10:31 PM

NEY3WN Great article.Thanks Again. Keep writing.

# Slibiaencance said on Sunday, July 15, 2012 1:48 PM

[url=http://pharm4allpharmacy.com]mexican online pharmacy reviews[/url]

http://pharm4allpharmacy.com trusted international pharmacy

# Slibiaencance said on Sunday, July 15, 2012 1:49 PM

[url=http://pharm4allpharmacy.com]4rx scam[/url]

http://pharm4allpharmacy.com top rated international pharmacy

# Slibiaencance said on Saturday, August 04, 2012 10:12 AM

[url=onlinepharmacywithnoprescrpition.webs.com]cheap generic pharmacy[/url]

onlinepharmacywithnoprescrpition.webs.com international pharmacy online[/url]

# Slibiaencance said on Saturday, August 04, 2012 10:12 AM

[url=onlinepharmacywithnoprescrpition.webs.com]canadian online pharmacy without prescription[/url]

onlinepharmacywithnoprescrpition.webs.com overnight prescription online pharmacy[/url]

# GuireeLiphero said on Tuesday, August 07, 2012 2:20 PM

Questioned just lately to jot down about e-cigarettes, I've to confess that I had by no means read of these a thing. Some net research later and that i observed that [url=www.vaporultra.com/disposable-e-cigs ]Cheap E Cigarette Cartridges [/url]  are quite much a promptly escalating problem. A Google lookup revealed you can find no smoke without the need of fire as just about six million benefits only for the phrase "electronic cigarette" were being returned.

Precisely what is an electronic cigarette?

The ecigarette has become in existence for almost 3 many years and is a clever product targeted at furnishing people who smoke by using a more healthy option. Seemingly also handy in assisting to decrease and certainly stop smoking cigarettes altogether.

Now in a very fourth generation, e cigs became a great deal far more user helpful than previously variations which perhaps have been just a little way too significant to stimulate a mass market place attraction. The "mini" is among the most realistic e cigarette thus far with its duration of 100mm staying similar to a standard cigarette.

An electronic cigarette is made up of a taste of tobacco but none of the dangerous substances observed in regular cigarettes letting smokers cravings for being pleased with no inhaling the many hazardous toxins. Can it be all smoke and mirrors? Or can this merchandise genuinely be the saviour it wants to become?

A battery, an atomiser along with a renewable nicotine chamber permits the smoker to hold and smoke the ecigarette just like they'd any other cigarette, even developing a "smoke" like vapour and glow at the end as they draw. The nicotine chamber proves extremely helpful as cartridges can be obtained in several strengths, permitting the consumer to scale back the quantity of nicotine they consumption until whenever they want, can give up completely.

A nicotine cartridge typically lasts the same time as 15 to 20 cigarettes, as a result making a huge protecting to normal costs. Conventional, medium, minimal and no nicotine in any way are the various cartridge strengths.

A more healthy choice entirely it appears, however the benefits never finish there. Due to the electronic cigarette not emitting any dangerous substances, poisons or serious smoke for that matter, these are perfectly authorized to smoke in general public. In winter season in particular, regular cigarette people who smoke need to courageous the freezing cool as well as the rain just for a quick using tobacco break but this alternative enables them to remain of their offices, dining establishments and pubs.

None people who smoke also will reward, as their anxieties about inactive smoking are rendered null and void because of the ecigarette. A way more sociable environment then!

Upon reflection the e-cigarette can be a more healthy, more cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternate to smoking cigarettes and because the awareness and the industry grows they've got wonderful prospective to successfully swap the damaging cigarettes we've got all arrive to be familiar with and many of us have come to dread and anxiety.

# Slibiaencance said on Thursday, August 09, 2012 11:02 AM

[url=onlinepharmacywithnoprescrpition.webs.com]online pharmacy no rx[/url]

onlinepharmacywithnoprescrpition.webs.com buy prescripton drugs online[/url]

[url=winfreeipadgiveway.webs.com]free ipad[/url]

winfreeipadgiveway.webs.com free ipad giveaway

[url=winfreeipodtouchgiveway.webs.com]get a free ipod[/url]

winfreeipadgiveway.webs.com free ipod test and keep

# Slibiaencance said on Thursday, August 09, 2012 11:02 AM

[url=onlinepharmacywithnoprescrpition.webs.com]no prescription online pharmacy[/url]

onlinepharmacywithnoprescrpition.webs.com indian online pharmacy no prescription[/url]

[url=winfreeipadgiveway.webs.com]free ipad 3[/url]

winfreeipadgiveway.webs.com free ipad

[url=winfreeipodtouchgiveway.webs.com]free ipod touch[/url]

winfreeipadgiveway.webs.com free ipod

About Beyond Folders™

Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization.  Believing in  "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.

Join the Beyond Folders™ Community of readers passionate about time management, productivity, communication and workspace organization.

Read BFC News


Quick Subscribe to BFC News
Go

Follow Beyond Folders™

 

Search

runat="server"