Have you ever had that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you delete a document or list item, only to realize a split second later that you really didn't want to do that?
Rather than having to restore the whole site, you can find deleted items in the SharePoint Recycle Bin
. This features saves deleted content for 30 days so you can restore it if necessary (much like the Recycle Bin on your computer). Furthermore, if you're a site collection administrator, you can see the deleted items for an additional 30 days after it "disappears" from the Recycle Bin.
To find the Recycle Bin, look at the very bottom of the Quick Launch navigation on the left side of your page:
SharePoint Recycle Bin option
When you click the link, you will see all the items in the site collection that *you* deleted. It will not show you anything that others deleted:
SharePoint Site Collection Recycle Bin option
If you're a site collection administrator for the site, you will see a link at the top of the page that allows you to see all the deleted content for the last 30 days.
In addition to showing the site administrator the last 30 days of deleted items, it also gives you the option to see items deleted from the user Recycle Bins for another 30 days:
SharePoint option to see items deleted from the Recycle Bin
This is the best way to recover individual documents you may have deleted in your site. In fact, this feature will retain your documents longer than most nightly backups!
So next time you lose a document (or you think it has disappeared), check the Recycle Bin first.