Suze Orman's Spring-Cleaning: Overhaul Your Files and Finances
- Save active warranties; equally important is letting go of expired ones.
- Although the 100-page tomes covering operating details of shiny new gadgets are not financial documents, I've included them here because they go hand-in-hand with warranties and contribute to so much clutter. If you find yourself staring at a user manual for the cell phone you lost in a cab last month, trash it right now! And if you're comfortable Web surfing, get rid of all user manuals: Manufacturers have downloadable versions on their Web sites, and plenty of third-party sites amalgamate manuals from different companies (try UsersManualGuide.com and ManualNGuide.com).
- Some stuff should never, ever be tossed: birth certificate, marriage license, divorce decree, will, trust, estate planning documents, and death certificates. Make sure your family can access these important records if you die.
- I'd also suggest keeping a permanent file of all loans you have paid off (mortgage, car, school, and so on) because if you later find a mistake with how the data was reported to credit bureaus—or if an identity thief complicates your life—having those docs handy will save you much grief.
Keep It or Not?
Get Rid Of... ATM slips more than a month old. Toss them after checking them against your monthly statement.
Be Sure to Save... Receipts for big-ticket purchases that might be included in an insurance claim. And photograph the possessions; the more documentation you have, the easier the claims process will be.
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