What to shred, what to keep

Whether you just returned from the doctor’s office or simply checked your mailbox, you may find yourself with a variety of personal information documents. It’s easy to just file these away or toss them in the trash, but we want to help you sort out what’s worth keeping and what’s worth shredding. That way, you not only keep your personal information safe, but get to organize that pesky filing cabinet.


There are some documents that establish your identity or show ownership of private property that should be kept at all times. These documents should be kept and stored in a secure place as they are very difficult to replace. Documents to keep include:

  • Birth and death certificates
  • College transcripts and diplomas
  • Social Security card
  • Passport
  • Marriage license
  • Vehicle titles
  • Divorce decree
  • Business license
  • Home deed
  • Pension planning documents
  • Estate planning documents
  • Trust
  • Will, living wills, power of attorney

The following items should be kept until the transaction has been cleared:

  • Bank and investing statements
  • Cancelled personal checks
  • Credit card statements
  • General receipts with no tax or warranty implications
  • Pay stubs


In general, you should shred all mail and paperwork that includes any of your personal or financial information once the transaction has been cleared. Some of these items include:

  • Utility bills
  • ATM receipts
  • Bank statements
  • Credit card statements
  • Voided checks
  • Employee pay stubs and records
  • Copies of your birth certificate
  • Legal and insurance documents
  • Expired passports
  • Resumes
  • Used airline tickets
  • Signed contracts

Once a year, you should shred your health, car and home owners insurance documentations once you receive the new documents as those policies are renewed on an annual basis.