November 23, 2020
If you feel like you are constantly buried beneath stacks of paper, it may be time to make a change and get organized.
The more paper you have stacked on your desk, or hidden away in drawers, the harder it will be to find important documents when needed.
Take some time to dig through your overflowing paperwork and throw out any outdated, unneeded documents, especially if they are only gathering dust.
Reclaim your life (and your sanity) by sorting out your home or office space.
If your paper stacks are full of outdated documents, receipts or are easily found online - shred and recycle them. No need to clutter your space with unnecessary piles of paper.
For those papers you do want to keep, organize into neat folders and store away, so you know exactly where to find them when you need them most.
Once you have cleared your desk space, you will feel more comfortable working and relaxed in your home or office - and will be at peace knowing anything of importance is neatly, safely filed away.
How long should you keep documents before throwing them away?
A great rule to follow when debating whether to throw receipts away is:
Only keep the documents that are related to things you have deducted when you file your tax returns.
You should save every tax-related document for at least seven years after you have filed the return. This is the length of time that the IRS has to determine that you owe additional taxes, provided you filed a return.
If you did not file a return or filed a fraudulent return, you could be in serious trouble with the IRS - and they will want to see all of your original documents and receipts. This is one of the reasons why it is important to keep all your tax-related documents organized.
For documents like bills, statements or receipts for items and services, it is really just your call.
If you think you need to hold onto them, for whatever reason, then neatly file away in a folder to find them if needed, still keeping your home neat and tidy. Or, scan them to folders on your computer or cloud storage account.
Shredding is definitely the best way to dispose of your papers, especially if it has your account name, social security number, or any other important and private information.
Here are some helpful guidelines to assist you in keeping your home or office a little more organized and a little less filled with paper.
*If you deducted this on your taxes, keep for seven years.
Always keep deeds to a property for as long as you own the property and for at least 7 years after you’ve sold the property.
Keep stock certificates and brokerage statements for as long as you remain the owner, and then for at least 7 years after you’ve sold them.