Declutter – With No Regrets

Declutter with no regrets

Help! I am buried in a pile of stuff! What can I toss and what should I keep?

In today’s consumer-driven world, we all tend to over accumulate. Decluttering is not only a popular buzz word but is actually a healthy habit. Getting rid of unnecessary material items helps one to function better in less crowded surroundings and very importantly, eases the psychological stress and anxiety that comes with owning and caring for too much stuff.

However, as with all things in life, there are guidelines to follow when it comes to decluttering. From a financial and commonsense perspective here are ten suggestions on what you can gleefully discard during the big purge, and what you really should retain.

Ten things to get rid of:

  1. Bank or credit union statements – Sign up for e-statements, get rid of paper and simplify your life.
  2. Store receipts – Have them emailed to you
  3. ATM receipts
  4. Expired warranties and manuals
  5. Frequent shopper cards you never use
  6. CDs for old computer programs 
  7. Junk mail
  8. Old college text books
  9. Utility bills
  10. Pay stubs (keep for 1 year)

Ten things you should keep:

  1. Birth certificates
  2. Marriage certificates
  3. Citizenship papers
  4. Social Security card
  5. Mortgage papers
  6. Insurance policies
  7. Wills, living wills and power of attorney documents
  8. Pension papers
  9. Tax records (keep for at least 7 years)
  10. Medical records

Not sure where to begin? Take it in baby steps. If you are still hesitant to discard documents in the “get rid of” category, scan and save them on your computer or a cloud service like Google Docs and shred them afterwards. You can then take the step of signing up for e-statements with your bank or credit union. 

On the “things to keep” list, don’t forget that for a nominal fee, your financial institution will provide a safe deposit box to store your valuables.

So start today. Unbury yourself from stuff. Live smarter. Live happier.