Organize Your Files Week: What Documents to Keep

Many women have so many other things going on life that when a decision comes across them and if it takes more than 30 seconds, they might as well just scrap it. Because in those 30 seconds, the grilled cheese has started to burn, the dog walked in with dirty paws all over your white tile, your daughter bumped her head on the table and is crying now, and your husband is asking you if you remember where he put his sunglasses… last thing you have time for right now is whether to keep that piece of mail or toss it.

Trying to stay organized when you only have 5 seconds to really allocate towards organization is a difficult task. We understand where you’re coming from. There are two types of people in this world – those that keep everything, and those that toss everything. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to help shed some clarity on exactly what files you should be creating and what documents to keep in order to be a Minimalist Organized Woman – it’s all the rage these days.

 A New Mantra to Live By

This article lays out a simple rule of thumb to think about when making a decision like whether to keep or throw, when you only have 5 seconds to make it. “What’s the worst thing that can happen if I throw it out? Can I get another copy?”

We love this!  This one little thought makes the process so much easier. A credit card statement lands on the counter; you have online banking and can access that statement anytime you want; TOSS IT!

So for some of us, we’ll use this mantra to keep a relatively paper-free organization strategy. But what if we can’t get another copy or an electronic version? How do we know what is important to keep in those instances? 

Paper Documents You Should Keep

When in doubt, if the item in question falls under one of these categories, file it away for safekeeping:

  • Tax Returns
  • Tax- related documents
  • Retirement Plan Statements
  • IRA Contribution confirmations
  • Brokerage Statements
  • Bank Records
  • Bills
  • Pay stubs
  • Credit Card statements
  • Receipts
  • Home improvement costs/documentation
  • House records
  • Legally binding documents


Security Tip:

If you receive pre-approval credit card applications, some of these have partial information about you already pre-filled in such as name and address. Shred these pre-approval applications to limit your risk of having your identity stolen. A credit card application with partial information already filled in makes it much easier for a thief to open a credit card in your name. Plus – you’ve already been pre-approved according to the company – one less step the thief needs to take to get your money!

Being able to quickly decide if something should be kept or can be shredded can help keep a clean and organized home – especially if you will need to search for something specific one day. Not to mention we don’t have time for lengthy decisions! We’ve got a lot of things on our mind!


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