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Old 09-21-2012, 11:28 PM   #1
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What to do with paperwork/important files

I'm slowly but surely trying to go minimal in our lives. How do you all handle important paperwork like taxes, lease, school forms, etc?? I got rid of our desk because we never use it and bought a file box to move our files into but I want to cut back on a lot of the paper we have but not sure what is "safe" to get rid of and what is a must-keep.
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Old 09-22-2012, 12:18 AM   #2
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:15 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by taylortexan
I'm slowly but surely trying to go minimal in our lives. How do you all handle important paperwork like taxes, lease, school forms, etc?? I got rid of our desk because we never use it and bought a file box to move our files into but I want to cut back on a lot of the paper we have but not sure what is "safe" to get rid of and what is a must-keep.
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:20 AM   #4
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I often wonder if, for many things, scanning and saving them as pdf's or other electronic files would be okay. Dh and I do not keep a hard copy of our taxes, only a cd of it. And pretty much everything else we have is electronic, so why not scan and save your receipts or statements?
I know birth certificates, marriage licenses, etc that's not possible, but I would think the majority of financial documents could be scanned
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:56 AM   #5
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Re: What to do with paperwork/important files

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Originally Posted by krispy79 View Post
I often wonder if, for many things, scanning and saving them as pdf's or other electronic files would be okay. Dh and I do not keep a hard copy of our taxes, only a cd of it. And pretty much everything else we have is electronic, so why not scan and save your receipts or statements?
I know birth certificates, marriage licenses, etc that's not possible, but I would think the majority of financial documents could be scanned
Yep, this is what I was going to suggest. Bank statements you can almost always get directly from the bank if you need them, so I wouldn't even bother trying to save that sort of stuff. Anything with any sort of seal or anything like that obviously you have hard copies of.

As far as what to keep, I think taxes and any supporting forms of course. Any sort of debt payment records, like letters of settled in full etc, because they CONSTANTLY try to come back at you. Vital records like the above mentioned birth certificates, marriage certificates, as well as any court records pertaining to such like adoption papers, divorce papers, etc. Medical records, particularly anything major. Any other court or other legal papers like wills, any criminal documents etc.

Things I would not keep-receipts of pretty much anything unless it's a tax supporting item (ie medical receipts to validate your deductables). I wouldn't keep copies of paid bills either, because you can get copies of that stuff from the bank and you can keep digital records of confirmation numbers and stuff. Maintainence records on the house or cars I would keep but scan in.
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Old 09-22-2012, 09:51 AM   #6
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We have all paperless billing now so it's cut WAY down on our paper clutter.

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Old 09-23-2012, 07:22 AM   #7
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Is there a scanner rec for scanning these large amounts of documents?
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:26 AM   #8
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Any scanner would work, I think.
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Old 09-23-2012, 11:53 AM   #9
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Re: What to do with paperwork/important files

We try to keep the kinds of docs that you need to show originals for, that are hard to replace, in the safe deposit box. Then we have the "Black Box" that we keep the critical documents in that can't or aren't currently in the safe deposit box, and there are digital backups of the stuff where originals don't matter in there as well. The "Black Box" is what we are supposed to grab when we exit the house in an emergency like a fire.
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Old 09-23-2012, 01:43 PM   #10
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Re: What to do with paperwork/important files

We keep birth certificates, car titles, SS cards, etc in a fire safe. Otherwise we keep paperwork like taxes, bills, health records, warrantees, that sort of stuff in a small file cabinet. I need to clean ours out. You need to keep taxes for 7 years (I think) but bills I think just the past year is fine. We don't have any major debt other than our house so monthly bills are not really important for us to keep much longer than one year IMO.
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