If you’re an average homeowner that doesn’t own a business or have any complicated financial accounts to keep track of, you may not think much about the organization of your documents. However, every responsible adult needs to keep some personal documents for legal and tax purposes. If you are unclear on what you should keep and for how long, our team at Shred Monkey is here to help. We’ve spelled out five simple steps you can take to create an organized personal document retention plan.

How to Organize Documents

1. Gather Your Documents

Before you can begin organizing, you’ll need to gather all of your existing personal documents. There are several different types of documents you may have, but here’s a general list to get you started:

  • Tax returns and documents (including 1099s and W-2s)
  • Pay stubs
  • Proof of tax deductions or charitable donations
  • Bank and credit card statements
  • Investment records
  • Home purchase documents
  • Insurance documents
  • Warranties
  • Marriage or divorce documents

2. Identify Documents to Keep

During this process, you will likely find older documents that are no longer relevant and can be disposed of. There are general rules for how long you should keep important tax documents, so if you aren’t sure, a quick Google search should tell you when its safe to dispose of each type of document. Sort everything into “keep” and “toss” piles before moving to the next step.

3. Dispose of Outdated Documents

After you’ve identified the documents you need to keep, it’s important to safely and thoroughly dispose of your outdated documents. Shred Monkey’s one-time purge documents shredding or drop-off shredding service are perfect options. Simply pick up one or more of our free, environmentally friendly, reusable bags and once they are full, drop them off at our secure facility. We unload them all and shred them to ensure your complete privacy.

4. Organize Chronologically

Now that you’ve disposed of unneeded documents, it’s time to organize the documents you plan to keep. We recommend organizing your documents by type and then putting them in chronological order. Consider using separate folders or color-coded tabs to keep everything neat and organized.

5. Create a Destruction Schedule

Finally, now that your documents are organized, you want to keep them that way. Try to pick out one day a year to go through your organized documents and pull out what is now ready to be destroyed. Using Tax Day might be a good option, as you’ll need to access your documents at that time anyway. Whatever day you choose, just make sure you pull out anything that is now outdated and safely destroy it.

Maintaining and disposing of personal documents is extremely important for every adult. Start your journey towards organization today with help from Shred Monkey. We provide home shredding services to the Indianapolis area and beyond. Contact us today at (317) 916-1800 or request a free estimate online.