Important house documents include papers about your family, your property, your finances, and the law. These papers make you and your family legal and protect your estate. They give proof of identity, proof of ownership, proof of financial and legal standing, proof of employment, proof of education, and information about their family.
When mail and papers are stuffed into drawers or piled high on a desk, they can quickly take over and make it hard to work. We’re guessing that you don’t spend as much time and care on your bills and copies as you do on the rest of your house, which may be easier to keep clean. Even though it seems like a good idea to keep paperwork until you need it again, you shouldn’t wait another year to organize your paper piles. From the point of view of a professional organizer, here’s how to do it for good.
One way to help with the sorting process is to set up a filing system. It doesn’t have to be hard to do this. In fact, Lubega says that doing this will help you figure out which documents need your attention right away and which ones can wait. She suggests putting together a cheap cube organizer like Threshold’s Four-Cube Organizer Shelf ($50, target.com) with fabric bins like Threshold’s Cube Storage Bins ($10, target.com) and magazine file bins like Project’s 62 Metal Magazine Filer ($13, target.com). From here, you can put a label on each magazine bin based on the type of paper or how important it is. Lubega sorts each item into three groups: bills, things to do, and things to file. She says to start with the bills and put them in separate files so you can keep track of things like electricity bills that need to be paid. Put the papers with “to do” lists in a separate bag. This could include anything from HOA letters and options for refinancing to upcoming school events and other paperwork that doesn’t need to be taken care of right away. Put everything in a “to file” bucket after you’ve paid your bills, done your taxes for the year, or want to keep special projects from a family member.
Are you sick of looking at stacks of papers and unopened mail? Do you find it hard to find important papers quickly when you need them? This part tells you how to organize the papers in your home.
To find paperwork takes a lot of time and energy. When bills aren’t paid on time or permission forms aren’t turned in, it costs money in the form of late fees and lost field trips. In this article, we’ll look at a variety of ways to sort through all the noise. If your idea of getting things in order is to pile papers on the dining room table, try one of the following:
What kinds of records should a family keep?
A household inventory, bank statements, insurance policies, warranties and guarantees, education and employment records, credit card information, insurance policies, family health information, insurance policies, and canceled checks should all be in your current files. You could use these headings to set up your file system.
How long should a family keep their records?
TIME TO KEEP: 3–7 YEARS Keeping this in mind, it’s a good idea to keep for three to seven years any document that backs up information on your tax return, such as Forms W-2 and 1099, bank and brokerage records, receipts for tuition payments and receipts for donations to charities.
How long should old bills be kept?
Tax returns and other paperwork should be kept for at least seven years. The IRS can choose to audit you three years after you file, or six years after that if it thinks you didn’t report at least 25% of your income.
Should I keep my old policies for home insurance?
In general, you shouldn’t have old or expired insurance coverage if you don’t have any open claims. If you have an open claim or were in an accident that could lead to a claim, keep all paperwork related to the incident and your policy.
What kinds of records have to be kept for seven years?
Limits on how long you have to file your tax returns Keep records for seven years if you want to get a tax break for bad debts or a loss from securities that are no longer worth anything. If you don’t report money that you should have and it makes up more than 25% of your gross income, you need to keep records for six years.
Should I keep my old bank statements?
How long you should keep your bank and credit card statements depends on a lot of different things. Most of the time, you should keep them until you’ve filed your taxes for the year and dealt with any fraud issues, but in the long run, it may be better to keep them for longer.
When should I throw away my credit card bills?
The IRS says that it usually looks at tax returns from the last three years. But it only covers the last six years most of the time. In either case, you should keep credit card statements with proof of deductions for at least six years after you file your taxes.
How long do mortgage statements need to be kept?
You should keep any paperwork about your refinance for at least three years, just like you should keep your mortgage payment statements for that long. Some experts, on the other hand, may say that it should be kept for at least ten years.
How long should you keep checks that have been cashed?
But you should usually keep check stubs for seven years if you need them to prove something on your tax return, like a donation to charity or a tax payment. Also, you may want to keep any canceled checks and receipts or papers related to the purchase or sale of a home, renovations, or other changes to a property you own for the rest of your life.
How long do check registers need to be kept?
After that, you decide how long you’ll keep them. Checkbook registers should be kept for at least a year in case there are any problems with payments or if some checks take a long time to clear.
What should be done with bank statements that are no longer valid?
Shred or burn old bank statements before you throw them away to protect your privacy and keep your identity from being stolen.
How long should you keep pay stubs before you throw them away?
Bills: Keep any tax or warranty bills for a year. After you’ve paid all of your other bills, you can throw them away. Paychecks and pay stubs are good for one year or until you get your W-2 statement for that tax year, whichever comes first. After an account is closed or a security is sold, information about investments is kept for seven years.