I'm pretty good at tossing unimportant mails on the trash or shredding some that has important information on day-to-day basis, but there are important documents that I keep in our filing cabinet.
When it comes to doing a regular big time shredding - I am not really good at that.
So while I was in the middle of purging kids school papers which eventually led me to an awesome storage solution for school papers - I also tackled this big time shredding as well.
And I was so relieved after!
Here are my few tips and tricks to keep your file cabinet streamlined and minimized.
1) Tax Returns
Plan to keep your Tax Returns along with all the supporting documents (W2, donation receipts and other itemized deductions) for at least three years from the date you filed your original return or two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. (more IRS details here)
Although, I keep ours up to 5 years in an expanding folder.
2) Bank Statements
If you avail of your bank's online banking wherein you can easily download your bank statement then you can shred all your paper bank statements at once. To keep your papers to the minimal, you need to opt out for paper bank statement or call your bank to stop sending you a paper bank statements.
3) Credit Card Statements
Again if you have the ability to download or sign up for paper less statements, then you should do that. Otherwise, credit card statements can be kept until paid.
4) Utility Bills
Water, electric, cable, telephone and trash bills can be shredded once paid. Most utility websites have the capacity to generate old statements when you need it.
Other things to Shred:
As soon as you get the new warranties for car, home and vehicle you can shred the old ones immediately.
There is definitely no reason for you to keep all those voided checks, shred it immediately to keep it laying around showing your routing and account numbers on it.
Bank Documents from Previous institution you bank with but not anymore - checks, statements, etc.
You don't need to keep your pay stubs because most employers can generate it for you when you need one. I normally shred ours after keeping it for 6 months.
Documents to keep FOREVER:
Passports (keep expired or not; until replaced with a new one)
Military service records, Social security card and Life insurance
Disclaimer: I am just showing how I did it, and do not claim in any way to be an expert. Therefore, it is not my responsibility if this works with you or not.