Time To Declutter, Part 4 – 5 Things To Throw Away Now (Part 4 of 5)


Many households are overwhelmed with paper. Some papers are necessary to keep, but many other papers can be discarded.

Tackling a ton of accumulated paperwork is a daunting task, but once completed you should be able to keep the paperwork under control going forward.

Five types of paperwork you can discard now are:

  1. Greeting cards – If you have been saving greeting cards forever think about getting rid of some of them. You might want to save a few very special cards, but why keep casual greeting cards that are not important to you. Toss the bulk of the greeting cards in the recycle bin if the greeting cards are made of just paper. If they have glitter you may not be able to recycle the entire card. Check the recycling guidelines in your area.
  2. Bank statements, credit card receipts, insurance policies – When you receive a new credit card statement compare it with the one from last month. If everything is correct get rid of the statement from the previous month. The exception might be if there is a big ticket item on the statement or if there is something on the statement you need for tax purposes. Bank statements you might want to keep for one year and then dispose of them. Once your automobile, homeowners or renters insurance, etc. renews there is no reason to keep the old policy.

ghvcbfpqoppdeu8ngefr3. Sales receipts and ATM receipts – Reconcile your ATM receipts with your bank account and then get rid of the ATM receipt. Get rid of sales receipts unless you have a question about whether or not you will keep the item. Keep the sales receipt if you need it for a warranty.

4. Tax records need to be retained for at least three years and in some instances you will need to keep them for seven years. The Internal Revenue Service lists the time you need to keep your tax records online. You may want to keep your returns longer then the seven years just to see your income from previous years. In that case keep the returns, but eliminate the backup.

5. You have no need to keep appliance manuals for appliances you no longer own. Appliance manuals are available online for most products so you may decide not to keep hard copies of the manuals at all.

When you are discarding paper you need to be careful about any papers containing your signature, birthdates, social security number or account number. All of these types of papers need to be shredded before recycling There is so much identity theft it is not safe to just tear and throw paper with identifying information away in the recycle bin.

If you do not own a shredder some communities have special days when you can take personal papers to be shredded at no charge. There are some companies where you can pay to have your papers shredded. You might want to consider purchasing a shredder for your home use. If you have a shredder you can shred unnecessary paper as soon as you receive it.

Papers without any identifying information should simply go into the recycle bin.