Paper clutter can be overwhelming, you probably have paper flowing in from the postman, school and work just to mention a few streams. How do you filter it? And what about the important documents? What do you need to keep…. these are the paper documents you should never purge when you declutter.

Birth, Adoption, Death, Marriage & Divorce Certificates

Birth or adoption records are the most requested forms of identification while death, marriage and divorce certificates are also sought for legal or financial proceedings and simply applying for a passport. Rarely, will you find government agencies or a company that accepts copies. Trying to replace one of these certificates is a huge hassle, so be sure to have your originals on hand store in a safe place.

Social Insurance Card & Passport

Your passport is the form of identification and the single most important document for travelling in and out of your country. While your social insurance (SIN) card is one of your most vital documents needed for employment and government issued identification. Only originals are accepted. Make sure you have a copy when travelling, in case it becomes lost or unfortunately stolen. Keep your social security card in a safety deposit box or fire resistant safe at home.

Wills, Trusts, Powers Of Attorney, Life Insurance Policies & Medical Directives

When you are under the age of 30 – Wills, Powers Of Attorney, Insurance Policies and Medical Directives are probably not the documents that are on your radar. These are documents everyone should have in place, many people think it’s morbid to think about death, but it is better to have your wishes known as to help your family in situations which may arise due to death, illness, or injury.

The more complicated your situation, the more important it’s to have these documents organized and accessible. Don’t assume your lawyer will have a copy – lawyers can be disorganized, retire or move away. Ensure you have a paper copy and a digital copy of these documents.

Military Records

These are vital records and documents that will help you when it is time to receive military or veterans benefits.

Home, Car Titles & Deeds

It is important to keep originals of all car and home titles and deeds until you no longer own that item. It is extremely difficult to sell any item with a title or deed without that paperwork. There are ways to get the paperwork if you don’t have it, but it is a long and lengthy process.

Loan & Home Settlement Documents

The same as titles and deeds, you need to keep all documents for any outstanding loans and all closing documents for your home. You never know when you may need to reference these forms and obtaining duplicate copies can either be expensive or impossible.

Home Improvement Receipts

Invoices and receipts for any home improvement will demonstrate the value of your home if you ever decide to sell it. These documents will also be important in case of a fire or water damage to prove the value of repairs that need to be done.

Receipts For Large Expensive Purchases

Receipts for any expensive purchases which could include furniture, appliances, electronics, jewellery or many other items. These receipts are needed for an insurance claim due to loss by theft, fire or another disaster.

Financial Records Which Are Not Digitally Available

While it may be hard to imagine but there are records you cannot find on the internet from your financial institution. Ensure you have a digital copy of financial records before you purge your paper copies. The paper records you may want to download include insurance policies, loan information and other records.