What Papers Should You Keep?

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Mandi from Life Your Way and I have joined forces with AboutOne.com to bring you a video series on managing your paper clutter.

We’ll spend the next few months discussing strategies for managing your paper clutter. This week I address the Big Question: What Papers Should You Keep?

Click here if you can’t see the video.

Did you miss Part 1? Watch Mandi’s introduction to the sources of paper clutter here.

Part 2: Sorting Your Paper is here

Be sure to visit AboutOne.com and learn how it can help you manage what matters most!

What papers are MUST KEEPS in your home?

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  1. I’m enjoying these posts as I have an enormeous amount of paper clutter. I’ve always felt that I should keep everything, “Just in case.” I love the idea of sending unwanted magazine subscriptions to hospitals or libraries.

    I’m curious to know what medical paperwork to keep and what can be tossed? I may be wrong, but I feel this is a different area than a typical utility. In the past, I have experienced disputes between my Doctor’s office and insurance company and had to rely on my paperwork to sort it out. This is an area that I feel, “If in doubt, don’t throw it out.” 🙂

    1. @Shannon L,

      I keep a medical binder: (http://thedollarholleringhomemaker.blogspot.com/2011/01/medical-binder.html)

      I would keep all medical info for two years. If you have problems with insurance coverage you should be contacted within that time period.

      I would hold on to vaccination records, yearly lab work, and any special lab work related to a diagnosis, longer. I would also keep a list of current and previous doctors in case you need to track info down in the future.

      Also anything that could be tax related should be saved for 7 years.

  2. I’m using AboutOne.com to keep up with the medical paperwork. I love how it lets me organize everything by family member. But I’m wondering – if I scan everything and upload it to AboutOne: 1) can/should I shred the hard copy I have at my house? and 2) if I do shred it, what happens if AboutOne goes away at some point? I guess I’ve answered my own question – don’t shred it, just in case. Right?

    Jessica – I’m a long-time blog reader of yours and love this new series. Will you be covering some ideas for utilizing AboutOne in a future post? I’m thinking I’m not making the most of my membership quite yet and I look forward to hearing how you use it.

    1. @Lissa Mitchell,
      hi Lisa
      I am Joanne founder of AboutOne and also a mom of four boys (under 7), Jessica asked me to respond.
      When I use AboutOne and I scan in all paperwork or email it to INBOX@aboutone.com and unless I know that I legally need to keep a document (for example passport etc) I throw away the paper version and am slowly ridding myself of my paper clutter – I say slowly because I do not put history into AboutOne unless I am retrieving it for another purpose.
      One of the fundamental principles of AboutOne is that at any time or if you want to leave you can request all your information back – including your documents. Note: We back up all information hourly.
      If you or anyone else has any questions or feedback I would love to hear it – my email is jlang@aboutone.com.
      Thank you for using AboutOne.
      Kind regards

      1. @Joanne Lang, Thanks Joanne! I’m really liking putting everything into AboutOne so that it’s all in one place. After you upload your scanned documents, do you keep the electronic copy on your computer too? Or just use the version on AboutOne as your main copy? Sorry for the so-specific questions, but I’m going through a paper de-cluttering, so I’m good with getting rid of the paper copy once I’ve scanned it (if it’s okay to do so), but now I’m wondering about the “clutter” on my computer and the hard drive space that takes up. I’m thinking that once I’ve uploaded it to AboutOne, I can probably delete it from my computer too. What do you think? 🙂 Thanks! Lissa

        1. @Lissa Mitchell, No problem Lissa (sorry for slow response), I do not keep the electronic copy anywhere, my master is in AboutOne. I do however make sure I have filed it in AboutOne – all the regular precautions you would take with any system – before you delete anything. When I think about it I honestly may have some (may 8 or 9) copies of some docus in a file on my c: but only because at the time I forgot to delete and never remembered to go back – however now you prompted me I will just delete the whole file, your question was a good reminder. So in summary yes my master is in AboutOne for everything, I also have 3 fire proof boxes that I keep more of the legal type paper work that needs to be kept physically like our passports etc. Its important that you or anyone else using AboutOne uses it at your comfort level, for example maybe you want to keep your docs for a couple of months until you are comfortable and then delete. If you have questions, you need a demo or you need a feature adding to make AboutOne better, just let Beth (BSiron@aboutone.com) know, we try to have a new release every week and include our customers feedback. I am also happy to show you how i use AboutOne too. I use everything and in the next couple of months I am excited to start to use the calendar. It should be ready soon.
          Take care, it was so nice to see customer questions on such a great site.

          1. @Lissa Mitchell – I love our questions, because they are exactly the same as mine. I am just starting to digitize files and what I have decided to do, because I’m a bit of a control freak (lol), is I have bought a 16 Gig flash drive that I will back up all my documents that I feel that I need to keep. Also, external hard drives, even the ones with a few terabytes on them, are very inexpensive anymore and would hold a ton of documents. I’m thinking that I will see how the flash drives go, and I can buy them as needed, then label them and store them in my safe deposit box, if need be. That way I not only have an online version that is right in front if me, I can digitize the files and use OCR software that I can also sort through the files at a later date.