Ordner Dokumente
@Foto: Geisteskerker / pixabay

You should keep these important documents!

Invoices, contracts, deeds and much more. These papers pile up over time and the folders get thicker and thicker. Therefore, it makes sense to throw away superfluous papers. But be careful! In the private sector it is often mandatory or recommended to keep important documents.

Here you get an overview of how long you should keep which documents:

  • Documents on pension insurance and social security
  • Doctor's requirements
  • Health insurance documents
  • Birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates of relatives, wills
  • Loan agreements
  • Certificates, professional qualifications
  • Evidence of existing residential property
30 years
  • Court Decisions
  • Orders for payment
  • Credit documents
10 years
  • Tax relevant documents
  • Salary statements
3 years
  • Insurance documents
  • Rental documents
  • Utility bills
  • Account statements
2 years
  • Warranty documents
  • Sales contracts
  • Invoices
  • Cash documents
At least until retirement
  • Documents documenting the professional career e.g. employment contracts and notices of termination
For the entire service life
  • proof of household insurance, e.g. evidence of furniture, electronics or jewellery



It is advisable to make a copy of the documents for security purposes. Before throwing away documents with sensitive data (e.g. account numbers or credit card data), it is advisable to make them unreadable. Documents can be shredded, torn or cut up.

To avoid mountains of paper, you may consider storing your most important documents digitally. So-called "multiple folders" are also recommended. This is a folder with several compartments. You can divide the folder into several sections and label them. This way documents can be filed properly and order is maintained. 

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