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Tips For How Long To Keep Your Paperwork

Written By: Melanie McConnell

Feeling overwhelmed by paper? Wondering what paperwork to keep and what to toss? We have compiled a list on how long you should keep paper items. Note: That if you have an electronic copy of the items below you DO NOT need to keep a paper copy. Lot’s of businesses are going paper free! Sign up for this option at every chance you get. It helps the planet and provides an easy online space for you to find your important documents for years.

Here are time frames on how long you should keep paper items.

1-3 months:

  • Utility bills

  • Credit card bills

  • Sales receipts

  • ATM receipts/bank deposit slips

1 Year:

  • Monthly mortgage statements

  • Car insurance records

  • Home and contents insurance records

  • Bank statements

5 years:

  • Pay stubs from your employer

  • Dividend statements from companies

  • Summaries from managed investment funds

  • Old tax returns

  • Contracts

  • Tenant and rental records


  • Birth/death certificates

  • Real estate title documents

  • Diplomas

  • Guardianship arrangements

  • Health/immunization records

  • Marriage certificates

  • Passports

  • Powers of attorney

  • Social Security Cards

  • Stock/bond certificates

  • Vehicle titles

  • Wills/trusts

Remember: To shred anything with important information on it.

This blog is part of our Organizing Blog Collab with Mello Spaces, Organize By Flo, and Sustainable Lifestyle Solutions.

Melanie McConnell is a Professional Organizer and the owner of Mello Spaces. She helps busy professionals and parents get the organized home of their dreams. Check out her website and follow her on Instagram: @mellospaces

Florena Davies is a Professional Organizer and Owner of Organize by Flo. She uses her experience as a wife and mother of 2 to create real life organizational systems and changes for work and home that allow our 2 worlds to co-exist and 'Flo" together. Check out her website at and on instagram @organizebyflo.

Marybeth Welty is a Professional Organizer, Interior Designer, and Mindful Living Coach, and is the owner of Sustainable Lifestyle Solutions. She helps her clients create a calm, organized, and sustainable home and the life of their dreams by utilizing refined design principles, organizing best practices, mental wellness strategies, and a holistic lifestyle approach to sustainability. You can connect with her at and on Instagram at @this_sustainable_lifestyle.

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