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A Pack Rat’s Guide to Shredding


Is your home a pack rat’s paradise? You’re not alone. As you start spring cleaning, are you wondering what to keep and what to shred? Bank of New Hampshire has looked at experts’ advice and compiled this summary of how long they recommend keeping certain documents.

Save forever
Keep documents related to major life events – birth, marriage, divorce, and death. Lock securely:

Tax records
The big question is: what tax records can you shred, and when can you shred them?

If you are unsure what tax records to keep, consult an accountant or call IRS Taxpayer Assistance at 1.800.829.1040.

Other records
Most experts suggest that you can shred many other documents sooner than seven years. After paying credit card or utility bills, shred them immediately. Also, shred sales receipts, unless related to warranties, taxes, or insurance. After one year, shred bank statements, pay stubs, and medical bills (unless you have an unresolved insurance dispute).  

For those who are thinking, maybe I should keep everything, just in case – remember that identity thieves can’t find documents you have destroyed. Destroying documents with your personal information reduces the likelihood of becoming an identity theft victim.

Shredding is just one way to reduce the risk of identity theft.

Credit: Federal Trade Commission