When Should You Destroy Archives and Files?

In this blog article we discuss the optimal times and methods for destroying documents in Belgium, including the legal retention periods and how to do this safely.

Table of contents

1. Understand the Legal Retention Periods
2. Annual Cleaning
3. Safe Destruction
4. Digital Documents
5. Conclusion


1 Understand the Legal Retention Periods

Before you destroy documents, you must the legal retention periods that apply in Belgium. Here are some guidelines for important document types:

Tax documents: 7 year retention period.
Employment documents: At least 5 years after termination of employment.
Business administration: Store for at least 7 years.


2 Annual Cleaning

Organize an evaluation and cleaning of your documents every year. This process includes:

1. To evaluate: Identifying documents whose retention period has expired.
2. Classify: Determine which documents can be destroyed.
3. Destroy: Safe disposal of documents no longer needed.

3 Safe Destruction

It is crucial to securely destroy sensitive documents. For more information about this, I recommend that you this article to start reading. But in short, the following methods are the best:

Paper shredders: Use devices that finely shred documents.
Professional destruction services: For larger volumes or particularly sensitive information, consider partnering with Junk Brothers, specialists in secure document destruction. In addition, this often saves you a lot of time and money costs still good!

4 Digital Documents

Digital documents also require attention. Ensure safe disposal by:

Data wiping software: Software that data is permanently overwritten.
Physical destruction of storage media: In some cases, destroying physical carriers is necessary.


A good document management and destruction policy is essential for compliance, privacy, and security in Belgium. By annually assessing and safely destroying, you effectively protect everyone involved.

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