Sometimes it feels like, despite the fact that we’re living in a so-called digital world, we are surrounded by really quite stupid amounts of paper. Receipts, invoices, records of all shapes and sizes, forms, statements – you get the picture.
It’s tempting to take a Marie Kondo minimalist approach to it all and get rid of anything that doesn’t “spark joy” (in other words 100% of the contents of most filing cabinets). But sadly there are times when it is important to embrace your inner hoarder and keep hold of stuff for a year or 40.
Here are a few examples of things you might have lying around at work or at home, and whether you can bin them or not.
Unless your COSSH records have reached the grand old age of 40, you’re going to have to keep them. It’s the law. You may not want to look at them all that often (and who’d blame you) but do make sure they’re secure. If you don’t have a suitable archive room, sort yourself out with document storage faclity that is alarmed, monitored and environmentally controlled like ours. We can even scan or courier documents back to you within a few hours if you’re desperate for something to cure your insomnia.
Photos of yourself from the 80s
We can safely say that unless you’re Kylie Minogue, Charlie Sheen or Eddie Murphy, the 80s probably weren’t all that kind to you. So if that particular photo album happens to catch fire, don’t be too quick to grab the extinguisher. Alternatively, you could put them up around the house as an example to your children, proving that the “sheer dresses” and “statement socks” they think are so TD (ie. “to die”, which is the modern, lazy form of “to die for”) are going to make them blush when they’re in their 40s.
Contractor time sheets
OK, so this one has two answers. Once they’ve been transferred to your accounting system, contractor time sheets should be kept for a year. However, if they’re needed for revenue purposes then you legally have to keep them for six years. If you’re likely to need to access to them quickly, you can either get them scanned and stored off site or make sure your document storage company offers a same day courier service (hint: we do).
So you got a snazzy new camera / phone / George Foreman grill and it came with an instruction manual as thick as an average bible. Do you shove it in a filing cabinet so that, should the fuse blow, you know exactly how to replace it? No, you do not. This is 2018 folks. Instruction manuals are accessible online. Just Google the model number of the item in question and you’ll find either an official copy on the brand’s website or, at the very least, a scanned version that some do-gooding soul has thought fit to post as a PDF somewhere.
This is another one with two answers. If a quote has been successful then you need to keep hold of it until it’s paid and has been audited. But if it’s been unsuccessful, you should hang on to it for a year. Which seems unfair really – kind of making you relive that failed bid for 365 days. “You lost, sucker – someone else got the deal!” Not nice.
Old love letters
Well now this is a tricky one. On the one hand, if they’re from a previous relationship to the one you’re in now, you might want to ditch them. Having said that, they could form the basis of that romantic novel you’re planning on writing in your retirement under a flouncy pen name, so perhaps it’s worth hanging onto them. Just make sure they’re hidden discretely away.
Whatever documents you need to keep, we’re happy to help. Just call one of the team for a quote – we’ll do all the rest, including providing the boxes, doing the packing and transporting everything to our Bridgwater site.