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I am a secret hoarder! Filing/keeping paperwork - how long to keep for and what to keep? I'm drowning!

(18 Posts)
TexMex Wed 29-Jan-14 20:23:08

I have kept every payslip I've ever got, every job contract, you get the picture! DP on the other hand keeps nothing, and seemingly never needs anything bar the last 3 months pay slips/bank statements for mortgage application.

I have a fear that if I get rid of this stuff (every tax coding notice ever!!) then I'll need it, but I never do.

So.... Can I really burn it all apart from the current stuff?? I reckon P60's are probably worth keeping but the rest I could probably chuck and I'd never need think of it again.

What does everyone else do?

addictedtosugar Wed 29-Jan-14 20:56:15

something in my head says 7 years.
So, when I sold my house and moved in with DH, I put evening thing in a big envelope, and will bin it after 7 years.
Ditto with everything in my maiden name.
I still have every payslip tho......

Mum2Fergus Thu 30-Jan-14 20:32:07

I keep a years worth of wage slips then shred them when P60 comes in ..

Bankholidaybaby Thu 30-Jan-14 21:35:33

I think if you do a self assessment, you need to keep everything for a year after the filing deadline for that tax year; if you run a business it's five years after the deadline.

PigletJohn Fri 31-Jan-14 09:02:49

wean yourself.

At least start a new folder or box for each year. Then you have this year's folder handy for putting the current stuff in, and you have put the older stuff out of the way somewhere. Then you can easily see what is old, and can force yourself to look at your oldest box and try to think of reasons not to shred it. I suspect that when you look at an old box you will realise there is not much in it that will ever be any use. You may occasionally see a bank statement for an account that you forgot about when you moved house, and can get your hands on again, or something. You might find an extended warranty on the washing machine that was worth keeping but has now expired. You might find the instructions for the TV that has now gone to the tip.

PigletJohn Fri 31-Jan-14 09:04:08

btw I do know two people who used to work outside the UK and are finding it impossible to claim their pension entitlements without documentation.

NannyPlumForPrimeMinister Fri 31-Jan-14 09:52:32

The other thing you could do would be to scan in some of your old stuff and keep them on an external hard drive- you would still have stuff but would take up less space? And gradually work forward to the most recent stuff?

mrsjavierbardem Fri 31-Jan-14 11:54:30

I have a massive backlog of old paperwork too but have discovered our paper shredder has died.

What would you put in the bin unshredded?

I mean old phone bills with all the numbers on them? I;ve heard so much about people using unshredded info.

But if we've moved is it safer to bin stuff without shredding?

PigletJohn Fri 31-Jan-14 12:00:03

I think it is safest to put it out just as the collection truck arrives so no-one has time to look in your bin.

With a single document, I tear off the account no and put it in a different bin.

starfishmummy Fri 31-Jan-14 12:04:48

With some documents I just tear off the part with my personal details and shred that.

Does your workplace have a large shredder that you can use in your break? Much quicker than home shredders.

mrsjavierbardem Fri 31-Jan-14 12:31:54


TexMex Fri 31-Jan-14 19:26:18

Wow, so I only need keep this last years pay slips and then once I get a P60 I can shred them? I am enlightened! Well I might just do that as a starting point. Then the old job offer letters, I'll just write a simple list of start and end dates of the roles I've done and get rid of formal paperwork, I am guessing no one will ask for proof of all my posts after all these years! That will make a massive dent in it!

I have gone through my box of guarantees and instructions and just kept the ones for my current electrical goods! It was scary how many booklets in there were for things that had packed up long ago!

Bankholidaybaby Fri 31-Jan-14 20:01:55

I would keep the payslips for two years, as there is detail on there that's not on the P60 which might be needed if you ever have a query from HMRC.

TexMex Fri 31-Jan-14 20:28:13

Thanks for that info bank I'll keep the last 2 years worth then. If I start shredding from 15 years ago it'll take me that long to get round to current ones!!

Avalon Fri 31-Jan-14 20:48:04

Why not keep a digital copy of some stuff?

ShabbyFlabby Fri 31-Jan-14 20:52:53

I share your fear and actually last year a huge tax credits dispute made me so damn glad I had proof of earnings and bank statements going all the way back to 2002. I was able to proove a very big point.

I have a few years (more than neccessary) in the filing cabinet downstairs but then every few years move stuff into filing boxes up into the attic with the years they span on them.

Like I said - I was very glad last year to be able to root around in the attic and find what I needed to proove a point.

Avalon Fri 31-Jan-14 21:10:04

I once needed to prove when I started a job and couldn't, as I'd thrown away the letter. Might be worth keeping those?

Choccybaby Sun 02-Feb-14 19:29:08

Definitely keep evidence of all pension contributions.
My mother's old employers didn't but luckily she did and now gets several hundred a year more than she would have without this proof.

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