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Archive vs. Dispose: What to Do with Your Paper Documents in Ft. Myers

A pile of papers stacked filling the whole image

The number of paper documents that come into a home or business can be overwhelming. Between financial documents, routine mail, spam, and promotional papers, it can be hard to keep organized. It’s important to routinely go through your documents and dispose of what you don’t need.


There are some documents that should be kept for good. These are documents that you’ll need for life or for the life of your business.

Insurance Documents

For anything you’ve insured, you should save the insurance documents for as long as you own them. Insurance documents can include titles, deeds, warranty documentation, and insurance policies. 

Loan Records

While banks seldom make mistakes when it comes to loans, it can happen. You’ll want a thorough record of how much you borrowed and how much you’ve paid off. Even after you’ve paid off a loan, experts recommend you hang on to the pay-off record for seven years.

Forever Documents

There are some documents that you should simply never get rid of. These documents are hard to replace, and there’s often only one copy. Examples of forever documents include: 

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Social Security cards
  • Passports
  • Wills
  • Military records
  • Retirement plans

If you are not sure whether it is safe to dispose of a paper document, you can consult a tax or financial professional. 


While it can be tempting to hang on to any type of financial paper document, there are many documents that you are perfectly fine to dispose of.

Monthly Bills

Once your monthly bill has been paid, you can dispose of it. Some experts recommend keeping utility bills for one year. The only exception is if you are claiming a home office tax deduction. In that case, you should keep them for three years.


For everyday purchases of disposable or perishable items, there’s normally no good reason to hang on to receipts. For larger purchases that may have a limited warranty, you can safely dispose of the receipt after three years.

Bank Statements

Most people and businesses today have online banking that makes bank statements almost irrelevant. If you have online banking, you can safely dispose of your paper bank statements. If you don’t have online banking, keep your statements for three years.

Get Rid of Your Paper Documents with ShredQuick

ShredQuick provides secure residential and commercial shredding services to clients throughout Southwest and Central Florida. We provide onsite paper shredding and document destruction to help you get rid of documents while ensuring none of your information is at risk. Call us today to set up your service.

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