It's not too late to sign up for our P31 Woman article contest. If you missed Tuesday's post, please go back and read it. It would be wonderful to publish one of your articles. However, in case you just can't get something written in the next day or two, please consider submitting an article in the future. You can always go to www.Proverbs31.org and click on "P31 Woman Magazine" for full submission guidelines. My assistant editor, Janet Burke, accepts normal everyday submissions and they all are reviewed with equal importance.
Today I'd like to address two questions many people have about managing their paper overload: 1) What should I save? and 2) How long?
Here are some common documents and recommendations on how long to save them:
1) Tax returns and supporting documents (seven years)
2) Investment records (As long as you own the investment. You can save your annual summary and shred monthly statements.)
3) Credit card statements (one year)
4) Bank statements (three years - consider eliminating paper statements forever as a precaution against identity theft)
5) Home records (duration of ownership, plus seven years)
6) Medical records (indefinitely)
7) Family records (indefinitely)
8) Pay stubs (one year)
In our world of identity theft, you might want to consider purchasing a scanner and then scanning and saving some of the less critical documents onto a portable hard drive, or even something as simple as a flash drive. Store the portable devise in a fire-proof safe or a safety deposit box at the bank, then shred the original documents. This doesn't apply to important documents such as birth certificates, marriage licences, wills, etc. Store those in the same fire-proof places.
If you've been saving other types of documents for years, but have never referred to them, then perhaps you don't need to save them for quite so long. I used to save all of my utility bills for never needed them. It was just a habit. A few years ago, I decided to just save one year's worth of receipts. Even though I still don't need them, it makes me feel good to have them, but I'm not taking up inches of space in my filing cabinet. The same could be said for anything not needed for tax documents or other important uses.
I also have a habit of saving receipts for items I've long since gotten rid of. Purge those receipts and shred what you don't need.
Tomorrow I'll post more about what to shred. I think you'll be surprised at how much paperwork we should shred before tossing or recycling.
In His Love,