It’s an age old dilemma. What to keep, what to throw away. When does a record go from being an important document to just a piece of paper? There are some basic rules when it comes to these decisions and knowing what they are, and what impact they can have on your business has never been more relevant.
It’s not the complete list, and you should certainly consult with a records management expert whenever you have a question related to records retention, storage or destruction, but here are some quick tips to save you some time making that decision.
- What you should always keep – Birth certificates, marriage licenses, passports, mortgage documents and titles, tax documents, or records related to wills or estates should always be kept and stored in a secure location. Records like these have significance beyond just the document. Keeping them insures that you can easily provide the information whenever necessary.
- What you should throw away, right now! – Once you’ve reviewed them, bank and credit card statements, junk mail related to credit card or mortgage refinance proposals, personal correspondence, receipts for small purchases, and pay stubs can be shredded and disposed of almost immediately. If you want to keep it for some reason, scan it and keep an electronic version instead.
Knowing what records you should hang on to and having an organized system set up to keep track of them is just one part of a good records management plan. Having that plan in place can simplify the process and make those daily decisions so much easier for you.