Grab a paper sack and see how fast you can fill it up with recycling.
Old newspapers, magazines, junk mail that didn't get properly processed when you carried it in, out-of-date coupons, sure, knock out the easy stuff.
But flex some real muscle and effect some real change in your file drawers by also purging user manuals for devices you no longer own, utility bills from 1998, and similar dead documents. (Don't forget to shred papers with personal information on them).
Get online and switch one bill over to electronic billing or pick up the phone and cancel one of those magazines or catalogs that helped fill your bag.
Now carry that bag out and put it in the bin. Hooray!
3 thoughts on “Paper Purge”
How long should I hang on to bill statements before purging? Taxes?
Depends on where you live. I believe in the United States seven years for tax info is recommended. Statements usually only for a year or 14 months, I’d guess.
I keep my bank + CC statements for seven years too, but everything else goes after a year. Usually if you’ve done something that needs explaining, your bank statement will have at least partial info about it, like if you need to know the original price to something you bought years before.
I also keep a lot of that information on my computer, either via Quicken + TurboTax or by saving the old downloaded bills. My bank issues its electronic statements as pdfs, so I just grab those and squirrel them away for safekeeping. If you have a laptop, you won’t want all that data travelling around with you, but the electronic records are much easier to keep. The NYTimes had an article post-Katrina about the records you should keep just in case and how best to back them up. It suggested that for super-safekeeping, you should stuff everything on a thumb drive and trade it with a relative who lives in another part of the country and has a safety deposit box or safe.