Author Topic: Frugal physical document storage  (Read 2348 times)

Empire Business

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Frugal physical document storage
« on: November 16, 2013, 03:25:42 PM »
I am fortunate not to own any other items valuable enough that I would consider offsite storage, but even in 2013, it seems there are those few documents of which it is really best to retain the original copy.  Deeds/titles, passports/Social Security cards, etc.  (For just about everything else I'm good with scan/shred.)  Safe deposit boxes have rent, and the low-end personal document fire safes are cumbersome to own and said not to be much use in a fire or flood anyway. 

What do you guys do with your documents?  Is there some awesome way of obtaining a free safe deposit box if you keep part of your stash in an institution?   Buy a fire safe on Craigslist and carry it home in your bike cargo trailer?

Thanks!

Russ

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Re: Frugal physical document storage
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2013, 03:34:43 PM »
Keep them in an unassuming folder in a kitchen drawer. Nothing's irreplaceable.

Argyle

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Re: Frugal physical document storage
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2013, 04:16:00 PM »
Note that if you do have a safe deposit box, and you keep stock certificates in it (I have some stocks old enough to have paper certificates), the box rental is tax deductible.  Then you can also keep any other valuables in it (your grandmother's wedding ring, other heirlooms, etc.), some of which may be irreplaceable in terms of sentimental value.

amha

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Re: Frugal physical document storage
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2013, 04:25:43 PM »
I have a bright-blue file folder labelled "IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS" that holds my passport, social security card, birth certificate, and the like. I have a handful of physical files---a box's worth---and so I keep it in there. Maybe not the safest option, if someone is looking for it, but safe deposit boxes have always struck me as overly paranoid. How often do people break into your house? Do people break into your house to steal your identity, or to steal your (stupid and non-Mustachain) giant flat-screen TV?

I have everything scanned and saved on my computer as well.

If these are your only physical documents, why not just keep them in a large mailing envelope (or a file folder inside such an envelope)? That way, you can put them in a safe/hidden/wherever place, and you don't need to worry about stuff falling out, like you might with just a file folder. And you can scrawl on it with a sharpie, "TAX RECORDS (DANGER! VERY BORING! NO NEED TO OPEN!)".

There are plenty of places in your house that you can stick a 9x13 mailing envelope and no one will find it.

Empire Business

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Re: Frugal physical document storage
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2013, 04:58:57 PM »
Good ideas so far, Russ is probably pretty much right on in terms of nothing being really irreplaceable any more.

Amha, I guess I was thinking more along the lines of disaster than break-ins.  I know people who have been out on the street in pajamas with no ID for days after quakes, etc.  But, I guess a SD box wouldn't help much in that case since the bank would be closed or not let me get to my box without ID.

Another concern is that if anything long term were to happen to me but not my residence, there are documents I absolutely would want someone to be able to find.

the fixer

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Re: Frugal physical document storage
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2013, 05:08:23 PM »
Floods are easy to deal with: just keep the documents higher than the first floor. If you have to hide them, just make sure to leave instructions with someone else about where they can be found.

For an earthquake or tornado, you might be able to fit all the documents in a dry box (Otter or Pelican make these). I don't know for sure but those things seem like they're built solid enough that they'd survive severe damage to a house, assuming you go searching through the rubble pile for them.

For fire, avalanche, mudslides, and tsunamis, I don't think there's much you can do. But all of your personal documents can be replaced, eventually and with enough hassle. I don't think you need a totally foolproof plan.

Argyle

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Re: Frugal physical document storage
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2013, 02:33:53 AM »
Well, I got the safe deposit box after the second break-in.  They did steal my Social Security card in the break-in.  It may be unlikely, but it's not impossible.  What I regret more than the loss of the Social Security card (which they did not use to commit any fraud, surprisingly) was the loss of some heirloom jewelry which wasn't particularly valuable but which I was devastated to have lost.  The stuff they missed is now in the safe deposit box.