Once you’ve decided what papers need action, it’s time to get rid of what’s unnecessary. Have a pile of papers waiting to be shredded? Instead of letting “to shred” papers stack up, first decide if you actually need to shred them. “What needs to be shredded is anything that could damage your finances, your identity, your security, or your reputation,” Marrero explains. “Anything with personal or account information on it that is not public knowledge already that would make you cringe if a stranger pulled it out of your garbage can.” Things with your address don’t have to be shredded—that information is public knowledge.
Once you know what’s what make sure you have the proper machinery. “Always buy a nicer shredder than you think you need,” Marrero says. “They will wear out fast if you buy cheap ones, and better to buy quality up front than replace them multiple times.” Marrero recommends one that can handle a minimum of 12 sheets (available at Office Depot
for $150 and up) because even though one junk mail envelope contains just 2 sheets of paper -- folded into thirds that’s actually 8 pieces of paper thick counting envelope. By getting a paper shredder that can handle extreme thickness, you can shred junk mail without opening it. Dealing with a backlog of papers? Bestry notes that most office supply stores will shred large quantities of paper for roughly $1 per pound.