Which documents can I shred?

With so much of our information stored digitally these days the postie has a much lighter load but it's important you don't rid yourself of every bit of paperwork that comes through your front door.

Documents you should never destroy

  1. Birth & death certificates
  2. Marriage & divorce certificates
  3. Passports
  4. Driving licence (your plastic card)
  5. Certificates of professional and academic qualifications
  6. Pension documents 
  7. HMRC documentation needed for tax purposes
  8. Military papers & ID
  9. National Insurance card
  10. Wills
  11. Bankruptcy documentation
  12. NHS card & immunisation documentation

It's a good idea to take photos of all sensitive documentation as long as they're stored securely so you have copies in case of emergencies.

Other documents you need to keep but only for a certain length of time

  1. Work contracts - keep these for 12 months after you've left an organisation
  2. Rental agreements - keep for 6 months after you've vacated a property
  3. Insurance documents - keep until you've renewed
  4. Annual energy statement - keep for up to 24 months in order to make comparisons
  5. Receipts & warranties – keep for the life of the product in case you need a refund or repair
  6. Vehicle service documentation - for as long as you have the vehicle
  7. Payslips - keep for 3 years
  8. P45 & P60 - keep for 7 years
  9. Till receipts - keep until you’ve matched them with your statement
  10. Bank statements - if you're self employed you should keep these for 7 years, otherwise get rid after 12 months
  11. Insurance certificates - keep these for as long as you have outstanding claims and/or the last 2 years as proof of no claims and claims history
  12. Mortgage documents - keep these for the lifetime that you own your property
  13. Property deeds & home repair receipts or warranties- keep these for the lifetime that you own your property
  14. TV licence - keep until you need to renew, although you can always see a copy online
  15. Council Tax bill - keep until you're all paid up, although you can always request a copy if you lose it or want to contest what band you're in
  16. If you've opted for paperless banking and bills and you're still clinging on to that pile of papers it's time to get the shredder out.

Documents you can destroy now

  1. Vehicle tax discs (no longer valid)
  2. MOT certificates (these are now stored digitally)
  3. Used airline tickets
  4. Anything else that's expired, you've sold or you've kept for over 7 years

"Make sure you still have at least one account that continues to send paper statements though because you are sometimes asked for these as proof of address when applying for things like a mobile phone contract or new bank account," says Hannah Maundrell at Money.co.uk.

"If in doubt, double check and think carefully about whether you might need proof for evidence in years to come."

  • There are more money-saving tips in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.