Free event held at library Thursday offers community safe disposal of records

Published 6:55 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2019


Boyle County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences

When it comes to spring cleaning, paper clutter can be quite the challenge. We all have piles and files of documents we keep because we think we should. It’s easy to end up with quite the amount of paper clutter when it’s not always clear what you should keep or how long you should keep it.

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Here are some tips on how you should manage your paper clutter by knowing how long to retain documents for your records.

The first and possibly the most helpful tip is to get organized in categories that work for you and your family. Store them in things such as folders, binders with divided sections or accordion files to make them easy to find.

Copies of insurance information and financial information should be kept easily accessible in a water proof container in case of emergency.

Now let’s break down some categories of documents, how long you should keep them and why — we’ll cover the highlights and most commonly questioned documents.

Documents related to money could include bank records, bills and credit card records, and can vary. All bank records such as cancelled checks, deposit slips, list of account numbers and savings account statements should be kept for 3-6 years. Bank statements can be shredded every 2 years. These items can be helpful when proving payment of bills, keeping accurate monthly and annual financial records, and for tax purposes. Bills, including credit card records can be discarded monthly after you confirm that payment was received. Debt records can be kept for 3-6 years or until they are paid off.

Personal family information such as church records, genealogy, health records and education records should all be kept permanently. These items can have sentimental value. Family tree, baptismal and confirmation records, immunization records, diplomas, certificates, licenses and transcripts can be kept permanently. Personal documents such as birth certificates and marriage licenses, and wills fall under this category as well.

Housing records, farm and business records such as titles and deeds can be kept during ownership plus 3-6 years after taxable disposition of property. Income tax and insurance records should be kept for 3-6 years or permanently. Warranties and guarantees should be kept during ownership of those items.

When preparing to destroy documents after they’ve served their purpose for you, keep in mind the information you’re throwing away. Don’t subject yourself to identity theft by simply tossing these documents in the recycling bin. Shred them at home or find a free shredding event.

Obviously, this is just a brief summary of the things you should keep and how long you are recommended to keep them. For more information please contact your local UK Cooperative Extension Office or email me at


The free shredding event will be 4-6 p.m. Thursday, May 9 at Boyle County Public Library, 307 W. Broadway. Docubit, a local document destruction company, will be on hand with their shredding truck, and participants may watch as documents are shredded. This is only for paper material — no plastic or x-rays; please remove staples and paperclips.