Inside TDV - The Data Vault Blog

How Long Is Too Long?

As we go through our daily lives, we all accumulate personal paper records. These can be in the form of car ownership forms, insurance documentation, credit card bills, or other such essentials; but the fact of the matter is that they all serve a purpose. However, as time goes on many people don’t know what is acceptable to throw away or when to do it. This results in increased clutter and redundant files that take up space and generally make it more difficult to find what you need when you need it. To help, we’ve compiled a list of common records and generally accepted recommendations on the length of time you should hang onto them:

  • Automobile title – Duration of ownership
  • Bank statements3 to 7 years
  • Bills or ATM receiptsUntil statement is received
  • Utility bills – 1 year
  • Credit card statements – 3 months
  • Medical records – Permanently
  • Home repair contracts – 10 years after service is completed
  • Investment records – Duration of ownership + 6 years
  • Medical insurance payments – 5 years after procedure is completed and billed
  • Pay stubs – 1 year; end of year statement permanently
  • Tax filings – Minimum of 7 years
  • Mortgage – Duration of ownership + 10 years

Hopefully this list can help you determine what is important to store long term and what to discard in the short term; the goal being to decrease clutter and free up space!


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