How To Keep Important Documents Safe In Your Home
No matter how many valuable showpieces and luxury items you may stock in your house, they still don’t top the priority list in any case. People often pay incredible attention to guarding expensive items that they tend to forget an important part, i.e., documents. Storing your documents appropriately is a must. It is best not to lose them at any point in time; otherwise, you might always take a long time to get simple processes done. According to a report by the Consumer National Research Center, every one out of four individuals in America has misplaced an important financial document. And out of them, not more than 40% have been able to find valuable documents when it was required.
More than just knowing where your documents are is also important to store them in a secured place. There are many documents that should always be protected from burglars and criminals, as they contain social security information. Some of these important documents include papers related to your tax returns, credit card or debit card details, and other important bank statements. These documents contain critical information, which even burglars find more valuable than your plasma TV or latest iPhone.
In this guide, we shall talk about how you can keep your documents protected, such that they are never misused. But before we get onto that, let’s quickly address the five most important documents that need security at all costs. Let’s get started!
Top Five Important Documents To Keep Guarded
Annual tax returns
Most of your supporting documents can be swept off after three years or so, but your annual tax returns are meant to be kept safe for as long as your life. The IRS has not more than three years for performing an audit, and once it has passed, it would be alright to wave goodbye to the remaining documents.
Always make sure you get several copies of your passport before you head out for a vacation. In this way, even if your passport is lost or stolen during the trip, you have a backup. And when you’re home, make sure it is locked up and kept safe.
It is quite probable that the original will document is held by your attorney. In such cases, always keep a copy or two in a safety deposit box and locked safely at home.
Every individual has a birth certificate; it’s quite obvious. It is best to make several copies of each family members’ birth certificate and keep them together in a file. The originals must go straight to the safe deposit box and shouldn’t be touched unless necessary.
Social Security cards
Keeping your social security cards secured in a safety deposit at home. Avoid carrying these cards in your wallet or pockets as far as possible. Otherwise, they can be easily stolen.
That being said, let’s look at the ways to keep these important documents safe.
How To Always Ensure The Security of Your Documents?
We spoke about the five most important documents that require maximum safety, and now it’s time to shed some light on how you can do that. When you are taking active measures to keep your important documents safe, that is half the battle won there. In such cases, you must have two motives in mind- keeping the information handy so you can access it whenever you want and keeping the documents safe from thieves or emergency situations.
You may have already seen this term being used a hundred times in the guide for all the valid reasons. A safe deposit box is your best play at ensuring the safety of your documents. Many banks provide their customers with a safe deposit box to store valuable objects and documents, while some may offer these for sale, probably at a discounted rate.
A safety deposit box is ideal for keeping all the original documents such as birth certificate, will, social security date, annual tax return, attorney papers, etc. Make sure you plan in advance about who will hold keys to the safe. Other than that, you may have copies of such documents in your house to submit whenever required.
A safe deposit box is great to hoard your original documents, but you still need a safety system for the copies you’ll have at home. In such cases, a home safe would be the ideal choice. Make sure it comes with a secure mechanism while ensuring durability. It should be fireproof and waterproof too so that your documents are safe in case of any emergency.
Get plastic page slips
Wear and tear is the usual concern when it comes to important papers. You must always protect documents from spills, spots, and any kind of damage. Otherwise, they may not be accepted in some cases. For this, you may use plastic page slips and file them in a binder. This will not only keep the documents safe but will also keep them organized and easily accessible.
Every once a month, use your shredder for good. All the useless receipts, bank statements, utility papers, bills, credit card offer letters, expired bank cards, etc., need to be shredded. Although these papers may no longer be required, do not simply crush and throw them away in the garbage bin. These papers contain important personal and bank details, which may be misused if they land with criminals. This is why shredding them is the right way forward.
All in all, you need to pay careful attention to where your documents are kept. Having them simply lying around can put you in great trouble. This is why having a well-planned system for managing original as well as copies of important documents is a non-negotiable task. With the above-mentioned tips and tricks, you will definitely be able to sort all your papers the right way.