How To

Organized mom shares how to store important documents and how long you should keep them around

July 24th, 2020

Whether it’s due to a lack of time or just not knowing how, a lot of people struggle to get and keep important documents organized. The other issue is they’re not sure how long to hold onto them. If you a hard time with this, you’re not alone.

What documents are important?

Of course, there’s always going to be some differences from person to person but for the most part, important documents are the same for everyone. These include birth certificates, car titles, wills, adoption papers, social security cards, naturalization papers, power of attorney, disability papers, appraisals, deeds, and financial institution documents, among others.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
Unsplash/Lewis Keegan Source: Unsplash/Lewis Keegan

Available help

Fortunately, one mom provides several solutions to help people with this. Not only does she offer tips on organizing important documents but she also shares the appropriate length of time to hang onto them.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
Unsplash/Sharon McCutcheon Source: Unsplash/Sharon McCutcheon

Beyond the obvious

Her name is Tracie and as she explains, “important documents” go beyond those already mentioned. They also include receipts, warranties, and manuals. All too often, people throw these things away and then find they need them after the fact.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
Pexels/Pixabay Source: Pexels/Pixabay

Key benefits

For one thing, getting your important documents organized could ultimately save you money. As an example, you’ll have proof of owning something so you don’t have to purchase a duplicate. But this will also prevent you from wasting a lot of valuable time.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
Unsplash/Chuttersnap Source: Unsplash/Chuttersnap

File box

The kind of filing box you purchase doesn’t matter just as long as it has enough compartments for your documents. You can even find online tutorials for making one. Then, purchase different colored folders with tabs. Label them according to what you need to organize, i.e., insurance papers, owner’s manuals, taxes.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
YouTube Screenshot/Gaylord Archival Source: YouTube Screenshot/Gaylord Archival

Filing cabinet

If you prefer a more conventional way to store important documents, you can’t go wrong with a filing cabinet. This is especially helpful for people with a lot to store, including small business owners. You can find them in all kinds of sizes and styles or if preferred, make one using an online tutorial.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
YouTube Screenshot/Make Something Source: YouTube Screenshot/Make Something


For those of you who hate messing with paper, there’s another option for organizing your important documents. This one is paperless. Simply create a place for them in your cloud account, scan the papers, and then save them in the appropriate online folder. For certain items such as a passport, you’d still need to keep then in a physical place.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
YouTube Screenshot/VID HD Source: YouTube Screenshot/VID HD

Accordion folder

Although this particular method of organizing documents doesn’t work for some people, it’s great for those who don’t have a lot to maintain. This is simply an expanding folder that you can purchase or make.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
YouTube Screenshot/Paper Kawaii Source: YouTube Screenshot/Paper Kawaii


The amount of time you need to hold onto important documents depends on the type. For instance, you want to keep tax returns for seven years. As for warranties, you can get rid of them once they expire. Then for car titles, passports, and other similar documents, you never want to get rid of them. You can follow the guidelines on this site.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
Unsplash/Kelly Sikkema Source: Unsplash/Kelly Sikkema

Disposing documents

With identity theft a real issue, you never want to throw your documents in the trash. Instead, invest in a small shredder. You can find a good one for as little as $30. That way, no one will ever get hold of your personal or financial information.

swiggle1 dot pattern2
YouTube Screenshot/Inside Edition Source: YouTube Screenshot/Inside Edition

You can even use the shredded paper for other things like crafts, lining a bird cage, and so on. As you can see, organizing and storing documents isn’t that hard. With a little bit of effort, your life will become so much easier.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Source: Penny Pinchin’ Mom, Wise Bread