Annual Paper Purge is Near
Wed, Dec 28, 2022
By: Jacob Gilmore
It’s nearly the end of the year, which means the year-end paper purge is upon you. Now is the time you should start going through the stacks of paper you saved over the year. If this is the first time doing a paper purge, start with separating documents that are past their retention time and those that you need to keep longer. You can then file those you need to keep to make the year-end paper purge easier next year.
Once you have everything separated into “file” and “shred” piles, you’re ready to contact Gilmore to bring the shredding truck to your business and shred that massive pile.
Create a Retention Schedule
To make life easier in the future, create a retention schedule.
- Tax documents: 7 years.
- Retirement account statements: 1 year. If you are going through a divorce, you might need three to five years of retirement account statements.
- Bank account statements: 1 year.
- Bank account statements if you are going through a divorce: 3 to 5 years, depending on your circumstances. Check with your attorney before destroying bank statements and retirement account statements.
- Medical bills: 3 months after you make the final payment. You can keep medical bills for ongoing treatments for a year if necessary.
- Final judgments, Wills and trusts, and other final court documents: Keep forever.
- Other court documents: 1 to 7 years, depending on the document. You can get rid of most a year after the case is completed.
- Receipts: 3 months.
- Receipts for large purchases or items with a warranty: Until the warranty expires.
- Credit card statements: 1 year.
You might consider scanning documents if you prefer to keep them longer than their retention time.
Why Do a Year-End Paper Purge
You should do a year-end paper purge for many reasons, including security. If you have documents with personal information scattered around the house or stuffed into filing cabinets and closets, it is easy for an identity thief to break in, grab the documents and garner enough information to steal your identity.
You need to keep only what you have to keep and keep it under lock and key. While a persistent thief can break into a filing cabinet, that takes time, so it’s a deterrent.
Additionally, keeping too many documents is a fire hazard, especially if you stash documents stacked in boxes in closets. Finally, when you need a document, it’ll take forever and a day to find what you need when you have so many to go through. It’s better to keep only what you need and keep them neatly filed in a filing cabinet. You’ll find what you need much quicker and easier.
To make life even easier, you can ask for a locked filing box. Throughout the year, as a document reaches the end of its retention time, remove it from the file and place it in the locked file box. You can also put junk mail and other documents with your address and other personal information on them into the locked shred box.
Contact Gilmore for more information on shredding services for a year-end paper purge, scanning services, and locked shred boxes.