How Long Should I Keep It For? FREE Printable

I’m knee deep in receipts and paper piles this week while I’m tackling a major filing cabinet makeover.  Translation:  I am going from accordion files to a grown up file cabinet.  My biggest struggle has been trying to decide how long to keep some of this stuff.  I’ve operated on a keep almost everything mindset and while that seems to be sort of right, there are some papers that I can toss with confidence.  I made a little cheat sheet to help me through the sorting and since I don’t have anything but piles of papers to show you, I thought I’d share a free printable if you have this overwhelming project on your list too.  Enjoy!

How Long Should I Keep It For - Clean Mama

Grab your FREE How Long Should I Keep It For….printable here!

You can also grab a coordinating printable for your paper filing pleasure – the File It FREE printable – get your ideas for filing on paper first in these six categories and then start filing!  If you go to this post you’ll also see how I finally updated my filing cabinet too.

File It Printable via Clean Mama

If you like these printables, you’ll love my shop – Clean Mama Printables! 




  1. LOVE this, Becky!! Thanks!
    Just saved it to my Evernote for quick reference and going to share it with my FB page later! 🙂

  2. Hi Becky,
    I found your “Keep It For?” free printable list quite helpful. I blogged about organizing papers & filing tips today and mentioned you and the link for your list 🙂

  3. Hi Becky,
    I’m pretty sure that you’ve answered this question before, but I can’t find it. I’m trying to print both the Keep It For and File It printables and my computer won’t read the font. What is your suggestion for fixing this? Thanks!

    • Make sure you don’t have it in preview and if it still isn’t working try:
      update adobe reader (free):

      If it still isn’t working you can download the font:

      Hope this helps!
      xo, Becky

      • Thanks Becky! I think I did have it in preview. I updated my adobe reader just to be sure and installed the font. Somehow I got it fixed and I now have the two printables ready to go! Thanks so much for your help and for your great printables. They are really making a difference in my home! 🙂

        Enjoy your Thanksgiving with your family!


  4. Thank you! Great timing, it showed up on my FB feed today.

  5. Thank You!!! I also followed the link to your previous article on paper organizing 🙂 Paper is a huge problem in my house and this fall I am taking on a big switch-a-roo in my home, changing our media & “office” space into our library/office space and I need to get the papers in order & under control. And, I am determined to not let all those school papers bog me down and mess up my counters this fall. It’s quite overwhelming, but I am encouraged by your system and tips. Thank you, so much! I can hardly wait to get started!

  6. I had a retired couple suggest keeping the last paystub for each year or job so that you can reconcile your social security contributions when you begin collecting it. That way if there’s an error you have proof of what you actually put in.

    • That’s a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

    • On a similar note, those who serve in the military should keep close track of their discharge papers. I work at an archives and it seems a lot of people lose these over the years, but need them for benefits and honors at a funeral. Also divorce decrees! For Social Security, etc. Basically anything that prove major life changes. Even the government loses records or buildings burn down.

  7. I have been trying to my declutter my paper work and home for years. I have so much paper work so I hope this information helps me I have only just found this site wish me luck. not to mentioned other clutter in my home. I am not sure where to start do I do the paper work first and my other clutter.

  8. This is an American list. If you’re outside of USA you should also check with your own local requirements for how long you should hang onto things. 😉

  9. Michelle says:

    Hey, I’d just like to add that paycheck stubs should actually be kept 5-7 years for tax purposes.

  10. I love this and use it often. I posted the link to it in my Facebook Group called “THIS Organized Life Works!”

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