The paperless society never materialized. A paper trail is valuable in a financial dispute but many people are awash in useless paper. You can keep what you need and shred the rest.
Use might some combination of these options:
- Keep a shredder where you take in and open mail. Reduce handling by making a keep-or-shred decision the first time you see something. Handling each item 3 times is like asking the mailman to triple your junk mail.
- Designate a container for what you keep (an envelope for a particular utility or a carry-handle box for everything) and then winnow the contents as necessary to use “make it fit” for inventory control.
- Save only a key page or part of a page (maybe a summary for the gas bill, maybe the itemized list for credit cards). You might get a 5-page statement of which you need only a third of the page.
- Save only recent bills (or more of recent bills and less of old bills).
- Save only “red letter day” details (important milestones).
- Save only endpoints (opening and closing a loan).
- Save only records of what you paid (v. what you owe, for which you often find no shortage of people to remind you).