Home Forums Welcome Hello! How to handle backlog of docs that should be shredded?

This topic contains 13 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Avatar of okgirl okgirl 2 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #159589
    Avatar of lindsay34
    lindsay34
    Member

    First time poster here.

    I am working to declutter my apartment but have YEARS worth of documents that need to be shredded. (for example, I have boxes of old credit card offers, etc. that I’ve meant to shred but hadn’t gotten around to and they accumulated). I spent one evening trying to shred documents or stamp out my personal info, but barely made a DENT. Have other people been in this position? What have others done? Any tips?

    I live in a city and don’t have a car so driving to Office Max to shred is not an option.

    Thanks!

  • #197164
    Avatar of Astreja
    Astreja
    Participant

    How to handle backlog of docs that should be shredded?

    Lindsay, I think there are some mobile shredding services that can come to you, rather than you having to drag boxes and boxes of stuff by foot, bike or bus.

    Alternatively, you can open envelopes and tear off just the parts of a document that identify you. Shred that and recycle the rest.

    And in the meantime, establish a zero-tolerance policy for your mail. Open it as soon as you bring it in, and deal with it (recycle or shred) the same day. That will prevent the backlog from getting bigger.

    A handy tip: Save an occasional envelope to hold smaller items that don’t fit easily into a shredder (e.g. credit card slips, banking machine receipts, and store bills that have debit or credit information on them). Put 6 or 7 of them into each envelope and then shred the envelope.

  • #197166
    Avatar of Ella
    Ella
    Member

    How to handle backlog of docs that should be shredded?

    It’s a common thing once we’ve identified a clutter monster to want to get rid of it right now! and then to despair when the task seems overwhelming. Here are some shredding tips that work for me:

    - shred your backlog every day for 10-15 minutes.
    - process the current mail every day – most of it can go in the shredder.
    - don’t abuse your shredder by stuffing in too much at once, or by letting it overheat, or by shredding stiff or heavy items.
    - enlist your cat! A year ago, I switched from regular cat litter to filling the litterbox with shredded paper, and my cat has willingly obliged. :) I clean the box daily (the paper makes it easy), and therefore I need to keep on top of my shredding in order to have a steady supply of “litter.”

  • #197168
    Avatar of ninakk
    ninakk
    Member

    How to handle backlog of docs that should be shredded?

    Welcome! I agree with Astreja re:zero tolerance; take control as per today and practice patience while shredding a bit daily or concentratedly on one/few days. Consistency is key if you can’t shred in your office or have a trusted family member or friend take a larger pile to their office.

    Don’t despair, we are all in the same boat here somehow, but I do know what you feel when describing that dent. Two dents are larger than your starting point, though :)

  • #197170
    Avatar of Netleigh
    Netleigh
    Member

    How to handle backlog of docs that should be shredded?

    Astreja,
    Thanks for the envelope tip.
    I’ve been attempting to feed credit card and bank machine slips into the shredder with enough accuracy to get it to switch on, when there was a much easier way!

    I love how these little ideas can be so simple and effective and I’d never thought of doing things ‘that way’.

  • #197171
    Avatar of ninakk
    ninakk
    Member

    How to handle backlog of docs that should be shredded?

    Lol, same here Netleigh, it’s not like we don’t have envelopes to spare, huh…

  • #197199
    Avatar of Larousse
    Larousse
    Member

    How to handle backlog of docs that should be shredded?

    My sister doesn’t have access to a shredder, so what she does is just tear off the bits of the documents that have her address on, and then pours hot water onto them, and when they are nicely illegible they can go in the ordinary waste bin.
    I would think that if you have a cat, even without shredding your paper, if you used it to line the cat litter box, that would be enough of a deterrent to a potential identity-thief… :-/

  • #197200
    Avatar of Mimi
    Mimi
    Member

    How to handle backlog of docs that should be shredded?

    ah i am so glad that i have a woodstove!
    my granny used to burn single sheets of paper in the kitchen sink…

  • #197248
    Avatar of lottielot
    lottielot
    Member

    How to handle backlog of docs that should be shredded?

    I put mine in the compost heap at the allotment, by the time they’re covered in veg scraps and slime they’re illegible. I had a bit of a bonfire a while back with dh’s backlog. But in an apartment that’s not very feasible! I would go with ripping identifying bits off and recycling, that’s how I deal with most stuff.

  • #197261
    Avatar of pkilmain
    pkilmain
    Member

    How to handle backlog of docs that should be shredded?

    Now that I have my backlog shredded – a chore I don’t want to do again – I burn much of my paper, and recycle that without personal info. I don’t worry too much about my address on catalogs, etc that go to recycling, and I take them off of magazines I donate. We are very good at sorting the mail when it arrives at the house, so not much gets beyond the entry where we keep a box for recycling, and a wastebasket for paper.

  • #197280
    Avatar of lindsay34
    lindsay34
    Member

    How to handle backlog of docs that should be shredded?

    Thank you for the suggestions! I appreciate it. I have a system in place to handle incoming mail, but have quite the backlog of darned credit card applications (I swear, I’ve opted out but for some reason they just keep coming!) and the like.

  • #197281
    Avatar of bandicoot
    bandicoot
    Member

    How to handle backlog of docs that should be shredded?

    i think the key is to keep chipping away at the piles, a little bit each day.
    set a timer for fifteen minutes and go nuts on it!
    you might find some days that fifteen minutes energises you and that you want to keep on shredding.
    other days, fifteen minutes might be your maximum.
    it doesn’t matter….what matters is that you persist with it.
    if you aren’t adding to it, a little bit every day will have it cleared up soon enough.

  • #197283
    Avatar of Ella
    Ella
    Member

    How to handle backlog of docs that should be shredded?

    Great, lindsay! Keeping on top of the incoming stuff is more than half the battle. Please post again and let us know which backlog ideas work for you.

    When I was getting endless repeat offers for credit cards, I used to write “Remove from mailing list” above my Xed-out name/address. Then I put that one part intact inside the postage-paid return envelope along with all the other stuff torn into tiny bits, including the original mailing envelope. Thus everything was mailed right back to the sender. No muss, no fuss on my end, but the expense of an envelope full of confetti on their end. It didn’t take long to get taken off their mailing lists permanently. :D

  • #197297
    Avatar of okgirl
    okgirl
    Member

    How to handle backlog of docs that should be shredded?

    You might check with your bank. When I worked at one, we had one of those mobile shredder companies pick up our sensitive material every day. We employees were happy to toss anything in the shredder bin that customers wanted shredded–old check registers, checks from old accounts, old paperwork, etc. You could drop off the entire lot at once and be caught up!

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