I used to keep the previous year’s bank statements
along with the current year’s statements. Then I read something about de-cluttering that made me re-think it. The purpose of the statement is to make sure there aren’t any errors between what you think you should have, and what the bank says you have. So if the current statement is correct, why would you need one from a year ago? Or even 2 months ago? Shred ’em! Same thing with utility bills. If there are no errors, keep only the most recent ones. The only utility paperwork I might keep is a change to a payment plan or feature set(like cable TV channels). If you’re not getting what’s promised, you need to be able to say “Here’s the proof”.
Business accounts may have different retention guidelines. I’ll defer to actual business owners on those…
I think one way to help declutter is to switch to paperless billing & statements. When you go paperless they usually come by email. Most of us have at least one email account we can use for bills. We have some on paperless and some by mail. I need to switch over to paperless on the few remaining that come by mail.
Also if you need something for verification, it is usually available through the vendor (bank, business, payday loans at pbcloans.com without credit check, etc.) till year’s end or for 12 months after the purchase happened. For taxes I don’t keep individual pharmacy receipts. I just get a print out at the end of the year and it’s all on one page. No more 50 million receipts to go through. I do the same with doctors and hospitals — just get a statement for the calendar year that I am doing taxes for. Our accountant has never said he preferred individual receipts.