2010 Holiday Gift Giving Guide: Ultimate generosity

In 2007, we recommended the Fujitsu ScanSnap (PC and Mac) as the dream gift for an unclutterer.

In 2008, we suggested the Kindle as the most generous uncluttered gift of the holiday season. (Back then, a Kindle was $359.)

Last year, my book Unclutter Your Life in One Week was the ultimate item on the list. (Note: The paperback version of it is being released later this month, and is currently selling for less than $10 on Amazon.)

This year, we thought a great deal about it and had many debates over our selection. Ultimately, we decided to go with the Intellishred crosscut paper shredders from Fellowes. They are truly generous and helpful for unclutterers.

There are two versions of this shredder we are recommending:

For the home, we suggest the Intellishred PS-79Ci ($191)

And, for the office, we recommend the heavy-weight champion Intellishred C-120Ci ($664)

These shredders are quiet (well, as far as shredders go), rarely jam, accept multiple media types, and come with great warranties (two and three year, respectively). Best of all, they help you get rid of paper clutter, while also keeping your private information secure.

Be sure to check out all the items in our 2010 Holiday Gift Giving Guide for more uncluttered and practical ideas.

24 Comments for “2010 Holiday Gift Giving Guide: Ultimate generosity”

  1. posted by ninakk on

    I’m dreaming of a paper shredder. What kind of pattern is the most finely chopped nowadays? I recall something like diamond cut and normal stripes to be a couple of alternatives, but which is the best one (basically impossible to patch back) currently?

  2. posted by Battra92 on

    I prefer my shredder which I got for the low, low price of free at a yard sale that was closing up after a weekend. It’s one of those things you don’t think you need until after you have one and then you can’t live without it. Junk mail gets a quick look through to make sure I wasn’t signed up for something and then WRRRRRR it goes into the shredder and out of my mind and life forever.

    I don’t know that I’d give one as a gift, though.

  3. posted by Brad Clarke on

    For $664 it better be able to shred other shredders.

  4. posted by dimitri on

    Really? An *unitasker* as a dream gift for unclutterers?
    The reader I can understand, I actually own one (Sony) and am pretty happy with it. But IMHO neither this nor the scanner help unclutter your life. Two more gadgets to care for. More cables, more space used.
    And mostly, a waste of money, where a cardboard box would suffice for storage and your fire place (or a pair of scissors) to get rid of old files.

  5. posted by Erin Doland on

    @dimitri — I can understand how you might not see a need for a shredder, especially if you are accustom to storing unnecessary papers in cardboard boxes the way you suggested in your comment. One of our hopes with Unclutterer, though, is to show people that they don’t need to keep unnecessary papers. You can recycle them — if they don’t contain any information that might be of value to identity thieves — or shred them. Sure, you could use scissors to destroy papers, but I imagine that if you have a box (or more) worth of sensitive documents that using scissors will become a painful endeavor. Additionally, you could use a fire place … if you have a wood burning fire place or wood burning stove … which, unfortunately, I don’t. However, it seems like a bit of an inconvenience to light a fire in your fire place a few times a week during hot summer months just to burn a stack of credit card offers.

    Scanners are extremely helpful because they allow you to keep documents without having to sacrifice the storage space or pay to maintain. Cardboard is a terrible way to store documents, and is a topic we’ve written about numerous times here on the site. Cardboard attracts bugs, would easily fuel the flames if your home caught on fire, and is extremely susceptible to water damage and mold and mildew growth.

    You may not see a need in your life for a scanner or a shredder, but almost all of my clients find them to be extremely beneficial in reducing the amount of paper clutter in their lives. Personally, I use my scanner three or four times a day — I scan receipts, articles of interest from magazines (it OCRs the words for easy searching and then I recycle the magazine), letters from friends and family, pictures I might want to use for upcoming posts, etc. We have one shredder near our front door that eats every piece of unwanted mail with sensitive information on it. Then we have another shredder in the office that destroys documents containing sensitive information we are not required by law to keep in physical form, any document containing client or employee information, receipts, anything containing our signatures, etc.

    We have a great need for both of these devices in our lives, and so do most of my clients and a large majority of our readers. “Paper clutter” is third most searched term on our site.

  6. posted by Anne on

    haha! I would be seriously disappointed if someone got me a PAPER SHREDDER for Christmas. How…thoughtful? There has got to be a better way to spend such a large chunk of money.

  7. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Anne — If you’re looking for luxury, it’s not going to be on this year’s Holiday Gift Giving Guide … since the theme of our list is “practical” not “luxurious” or “cool.”

  8. posted by Anne on

    I didn’t say it had to be “luxurious” or “cool” at all. I said that it is not at all thoughtful. I can’t think of hardly anyone that would want this appliance for the holidays, even unclutterers. I didn’t mean it to be offensive, it just seems totally silly.

  9. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Anne — I actually think it’s really thoughtful. Anytime anyone gives me a gift, I think it’s nice and extremely generous. As far as I am concerned, I’m not entitled to any gifts. No one should feel compelled to give me anything — so the sheer act that someone took the time to get me something they believed I might need is really great and I truly appreciate it.

    I don’t really know why you think it’s totally silly. If you need a shredder and have use for a shredder, why not appreciate that someone took the time and resources to get it for you?

    If you don’t need a shredder, then don’t ask for one if someone inquires as to what you might like.

  10. posted by Jeri Dansky on

    I’m not weighing in on whether or not a shredder is a good gift – but I DO want to say that if you’re looking at shredders, the Intellishred PS-79Ci is a great choice. It’s what I, too, have at home – for the reasons Erin mentioned, and more. After struggling with my prior shredder, it was a delight to get this one.

  11. posted by Tammy on

    I asked for and received a cheap ($25?) paper shredder for Christmas about 10 years ago, and my brother got it for me. I’m still using it, and it’s been one of my favorite and most useful gifts. But then I’m known for being uber-practical.

  12. posted by Dr. Pete on

    I find shredding cathartic. It’s the only socially sanctioned way I have of destroying my bank’s property.

  13. posted by Katy Ann on

    My in-laws gave me a paper shredder for my birthday last year, and I have to say it was probably the most thoughtful gift I received. Why? Because my mother-in-law remembered that I’d casually mentioned needing one to save time since my arthritis makes it difficult for me to use scissors (and I’m only 26!). It meant so much to know she was listening and that she cared enough to get me what I needed even if it wasn’t pretty or popular.

  14. posted by justin on

    Junkmail can be put back inside the mailbox.
    Yep, an unclutterers dream.
    Just wright “Wrong Address” and if your address appears, black it out with a black marker.
    What would happen if everybody did this???
    Well the Post Office would be getting SOOOOOOOOO much junk mail send back , they would no longer afford to deliver it.

    As for a shredder, the paper can be used for starting fire, among other things. Seriously, if you need to shred, then you are not living uncluttered!!!

  15. posted by ninakk on

    @Anne: Speak for yourself. I definitely don’t have the means to buy a paper shredder right now. My husband and I are asking for a coffee machine, since we’ve used a manual dripping thingy so far; not very delicious. It’s a very expensive gift (Moccamaster; test winner numerous times, though, and has a 10-year warranty) and covers the full amount that my parents were willing to give us.

    We also just bought a sofa – my gift to him and his gift to me this year – and so a paper shredder would be my dream gift. My birthday-gift money I put on an all-in-one and since then I’ve scanned more paper than I had ever imagined, some of them containing personal information, which I now have stored until a shredder becomes available.

    I like to think I’m past an age or whatever where I should wish for something just because it seems to fill some christmassy requirements that someone else has determined on my behalf. Actually I believe a paper shredder to be in perfect harmony with an unclutterer’s choice of lifestyle.

  16. posted by Deb Lee on

    I have a client that has the Intellishred PS-79Ci. When we’re working on her files, we create a shred pile. At a few strategic points during the process, we call in the troops, a.k.a. her two kids, to tackle the shredding.

    It’s a safe product and, of course, I think it’s useful (especially since my client gets the result she wants without having to do it herself). Besides, you can always throw all that paper you shred in your compost pile. Your plants will thank you.

  17. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Justin — I actually have moral reservations against doing what you’re suggesting. The post office isn’t responsible for generating mail — they are literally just the messenger. And, they’re a messenger partially funded by tax dollars — dollars our readers work very hard to turn over to the government.

    Instead, why not make the wisest decision of all and just go to http://DMAchoice.org and have yourself removed from all direct marketing lists? It’s free, and you don’t waste tax payer money.

  18. posted by Jennifer on

    Actually the ONE thing my husband is asking for this Christmas IS a paper shredder. Thanks for the recommendation!!! He’s going to be really happy with it 🙂

  19. posted by justin on

    Does that site work in Canada??
    Also, are we really concerned about wasting tax payers money??
    It is estimated that 50% of tax dollars are wasted.
    Also, I’m trying to minimize so I don’t worry about “government” and “their” money since they can’t manage it very good. Missing one billion??? O well, we live in canada, we don’t know where it went!!! That was the answer, give me a break.

    How do we not worry about tax dollars, well you need to lower your income enough so you are in a zero tax bracket. In canada that means making $10000 per person, so a couple could make $20000 / year. That would reduce the income down to $1700/month, enough in most places for a one bedroom all-inclusive for say $600/ month + groceries, say $300 for groceries and clothing say $50 each, and maybe an internet connection, and bus passes.

    It is possible to live for close to $1200 and bank the rest, have free health care, and pay close to zero taxes.

    Why did i need that shredder again??

  20. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Justin — If you’re in Canada, simply add your name to the Canadian Marketing Association’s Do Not Contact list:


  21. posted by Tammy on

    “Seriously, if you need to shred, then you are not living uncluttered!!!”

    we live in an urban apartment, we have no way to burn things here, and we don’t want our identity stolen in this city, the number one identity theft city in the USA. a shredder is as vital to us as anything. we use it every day.

    i have also lived in rural areas where we burned our trash, and in that setting i would agree that a shredder is not needed.

    it all depends on where one lives. just think of the shredder as much smaller version of all the yard tools needed in rural areas. 😉

  22. posted by JC on

    @Justin- I don’t claim to know about the Canadian Postal Service, but the USPS does NOT return junk mail to the sender. First class and above gets returned automatically. Otherwise, the mail must be marked “return service requested” or some such. All other mail is destroyed. Our office would send huge boxes of collected junk to the main hub for shredding.

    I love my Scansnap scanner. I’m gradually working my way through the boxes of files from building our house and spending five years in court with the evil contractor. I also have the file boxes from my father-in-laws estate to get through. A good shredder would be fantastic, but I’m making do with the little one I have. It’s December and I’m trying to get next year’s files in order before January.

  23. posted by Katie on

    Oh, if only there were a scanner that fed directly into a shredder! A girl can dream. Of course, you’d better get it right the first time…

    Also, a shredder doesn’t have to be a unitasker. I use mine to shred paper grocery bags to use as bedding in my worm compost bin.

  24. posted by David on

    The Intellishred PS-79Ci seems to be discontinued at Amazon? What is a worthy substitute?

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