How to keep important documents safe in your home

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Your home is full of valuable things, but one area that tends to get overlooked when it comes to home security is storing important documents.

Beyond knowing where these documents are, there are some documents, like passports and tax returns, which can be just as tempting to a burglar as your big screen TV or your electronics. Take a look below at the important documents you should store and ways to keep those documents out of the wrong hands.

Important documents to secure

Annual tax returns

According to the Australian Tax Office, you need to keep tax records for five years. Some records, such as those connected to an amended tax assessment, information you plan to use in future tax returns, depreciating assets records, capital gains tax assets records and petroleum resource rent tax records need to be kept even longer.


Before you leave on holidays, make a copy of your passport and keep it with you, in case your passport is stolen while you are travelling. At home, be sure to lock the passport up.


Likely, your original will is kept with your attorney, but you should have received copies. Keep one in a locked safe at home.

Birth certificate

Every family member has a birth certificate. Make copies to keep in your files at home and keep the originals in a safe. You may need to access the information on birth certificates, so keeping a copy close by is a good idea.

How to keep your documents safe

Now that you know the most important documents to keep safe, you’re going to need to know how to properly and securely store the papers. When storing important documents, you have two goals: keep the information close at hand, in case you need to access it and keep the information safe from theft, fire, or other emergencies.

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For documents you keep at home, or copies of important documents kept elsewhere, get a home safe. It should be fireproof and have a secure locking mechanism.

A safe at home helps you keep these items safe from people you don’t want accessing your personal information, as well as any emergencies, like fires or floods.

Check out our list of top home safes to find the right one for your needs.

Use plastic page slips

When storing your documents in a safe, you’ll want to protect them from any wear and tear or accidental spills. One way to do this is by using plastic page slips. Put documents in a plastic sleeve and then file them in a binder or box. The binder can then go inside your safe. Each document should be in its own plastic page.

Use the shredder

At least once a month, put your shredder to work. Shred your receipts, credit card offers, bank statements, expired credit cards, and utility payments you no longer need. Don’t ever throw out a receipt that came from a transaction you used your credit card with, as your number and/or name is likely on there and criminals can use that to their advantage.

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SafeWise Team
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SafeWise Team

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