Ways to Discard Documents

There are many ways to discard documents properly. Discarding documents and objects which contain personal information is even more important when they contain personal or business confidential information. 

Depending on where we live, we receive paper or snail mails in our mailbox on a daily basis. In some countries, the amount of mail placed in the mailbox is amazing. Most of the mails are marketing and unsolicited yet they sometimes include our name and address as if the advertiser has purchased a list which includes our information for targeted marketing purposes. Other mails may relate to our existing accounts and be legitimate however, all mails must be picked up from the mailbox on time and discarded properly. As mentioned, even unsolicited mails may contain at least a name and address which can provide some information about the homeowner.

Shredding documents is one of the best ways to discard documents. Many businesses engage professional shredding companies to come to their facilities and shred discarded documents which have been temporarily placed in locked bins while awaiting shredding. However, most of us may not have the volume of the documents which necessitates the engagement of a professional shredding service.  Most households are better off purchasing a small office shredder to discard paper documents. If your budget does not allow you to invest in a shredder, read on for some useful tips.  

Best Ways to Discard Documents

  1. Request electronic communication whenever possible. Most companies allow and prefer the distribution of account statements and bills electronically because it reduces their costs. The less paper documents you receive and accumulate, less you have to worry about and spend energy to discard them.
  2. Shred everything you don’t need even if you are unsure whether the documents include personal data. Shred even the envelopes which contain your name or address.
  3. Do not recycle paper documents without shredding thinking that they are safe with the other paper trash. Thieves are known to search for valuable information in the trash bins. 
  4. Prescriptions and medication bottles which contain personal information must also be discarded. Items which can not be shredded such as medication bottles, can be discarded in other ways as listed in this section.
  5. Common documents which must be periodically or immediately discarded include account statements, bills, canceled checks, paystubs, and older tax returns.
  6. If information in the paper documents can be obtained online such as bank statements, you can discard the paper documents since you can access old statements online and print them if needed.
  7. Old CDs and DVDs which we no longer use can also be shredded. Computer hard drives, SD cards, mobile phones, SIM cards, and thumb drives can be destroyed by erasing the data, resetting the device to factory settings, placing the item in a Coke or Pepsi which are known to even melt the iron over time, or, just using a hammer.
  8. Small businesses and homeowners which have a lot of accumulated documents may decide to burn their documents at once in a safe fire bin.
  9. Lastly, you may place your documents in a trash daily and pour coffee, tuna juice, left over soups and foods, and anything else that would make the papers smell, unreadable or hard to retrieve. This method is perhaps more suitable for less sensitive documents that we receive daily. In order to increase your privacy, manually tear the paper documents in small pieces before placing them in the trash and pouring leftovers on them.

Read about 3 ways to protect your documents after learning about ways to discard documents.

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