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Help! Urgent help needed from decluttering and paperwork gurus. I have to do this TODAY and am not sure what to throw and what to keep.

(15 Posts)
BranchingOut Mon 03-Oct-11 10:05:30

I have given myself TODAY to tackle several bulging files of paperwork. I am slowly improving my clutter, but find that when new bank statements etc come in that I can't get them in the files because they are too full.

Could you tell me what to throw and what to keep? Also, unfortunately my home situation is a bit uncertain so I don't want to throw away something that I might need to keep for financial documentation in the event of a marital split. sad I don't know what I would need to prove - historical personal outgoings? My joint contributions?

These are the categories that I am not sure about:

Student loan repayment statements - new style loan
Student loan repayment statements - old style loan
Unit trust statements
Statements for an old joint account - now closed
Statements for an old current account - now closed but my main account for years.
Old employment terms and conditions of service
Previous proofs of address

What is ok to keep in scanned form?

I think I can throw away:

Old mobile phone bills
Old gym subscription
BUPA bills from previous years - would they ever query these?

Many thanks.

PurpleCrazyHorse Mon 03-Oct-11 10:19:41

I don't know the proper time frames, but I do the following (mostly dictated by the size of the file to keep all this stuff in!!!)

Bank statements - I switched on online statements rather than receiving by post but otherwise I keep 6 months.
Closed bank accounts - I shredded these about 6 months after I closed the account. Most banks can provide copies (probably with a cost attached!) if you really needed them - why don't you ring and ask? I've only needed bank statements for my mortgage or the most recent one for proof of address.
Payslips - I keep the current financial year and obviously all the P60/P45s.
Student loan - I've kept mine as I'm still paying it off.

Anything old I shred, I've never needed proof of previous addresses, but I do have a computer file with them written on (with dates) for CRB purposes.

I am the sort of person that does bin anything not nailed down, but my Dad is a horder smile

whyme2 Mon 03-Oct-11 10:28:23

I am watching this thread as I desperately need advice/help on what to do with the mountains of paperwork that accumalate from family life.

BedHog Mon 03-Oct-11 10:35:50

I keep everything from the past couple of years in metal boxes. The files are...

Personal (birth cert, passport etc)
House (mortgage)
Tax Credits
Credit Cards
and probably a few more.

When the file boxes get too full, I put all the things I probably won't need in a box and stick it in the loft.

I'm self employed though, so there's probably more chance of me needing to dig out old paperwork than someone who is employed.

tranquilitygardens Mon 03-Oct-11 10:47:13

marking my place, as don't know what to throw out either

BranchingOut Mon 03-Oct-11 10:49:03

Thanks for input so far. All views appreciated.

Does anyone know what you have to keep/prove in the event of a marital split?

BranchingOut Mon 03-Oct-11 10:50:08

I think with the closed bank accounts/credit cards I am going to keep something with the number and final balance.

throckenholt Mon 03-Oct-11 10:54:05

You are not going to want to hear this - but I think the advice is to keep bank statements and other financial papers for 6 years. I keep the most recent year or two a filing cabinet, and the rest I box up and stick in the loft (for the mice to eat !).

Apparently your credit record score is based on the last 6 years.

BranchingOut Mon 03-Oct-11 10:57:46

OK, I have found this handy page:

LaLaLaLayla Mon 03-Oct-11 10:58:26

Bin the lot!!!

There is nothing there that you couldn't get hold of from somewhere if you really, really needed to. But I doubt you will.

BranchingOut Mon 03-Oct-11 11:04:44

Hmm. The stories on this page rather contradict what the Revenue suggests:

AutumnHues Mon 03-Oct-11 11:49:11

I am also watching this thread. In the past I kept everything but I am trying to have a declutter starting today. I think maybe if you have the space keep things for 6 years (hoping this is o.k. as I think I may have binned previous, apart for tax documents, p60 etc.)hmm
I need to throw things like reciepts cause they all get shoved in the drawer.

BranchingOut Mon 03-Oct-11 11:56:34

OK -starting with the easy stuff.

Vodafone billls going back to about 2001 have now gone!
BUPA receipts from before 2008 have gone, though I think I could probably throw a few more away.
Old statements for closed credit cards have now gone. Final statement kept.


BranchingOut Tue 04-Oct-11 12:08:13

Alright, I have shredded bank statements up to year 2002, but kept 'typical' months to scan in and then shred.

3 full bags and one part bag of shredding out waiting for the recycling truck!

BranchingOut Tue 04-Oct-11 12:08:55

Just to be clear, I am not scanning in all bank statements, just about 4 from each year.

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