Shredders really are now a household and office necessity with all the identity theft issues these days. The Federal Trade Commission reports approximates nine million people are victims of identity theft annually. 

Shredders are well worth the investment, considering that throwing your personal information in the garbage is no longer safe. There are many ways crooks can steal your identity and dumpster diving is only one way. For more information on avoiding, detecting and dealing with identity theft, check out the Federal Trade Commission’s website at: 

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/. 

Clients often ask me which documents should be shredded. Some want to shred everything and anything with their name and address on it. I think that’s extreme and can be quite cumbersome in the daily grind of life. My personal list of mandatory shredding items are: 

  • Anything with your social security number on it 
  • Anything with an account number on it 
  • Prescription drug labels and receipts (to avoid medical identity theft) 
  • Credit card offers. 

Be forewarned. Shredders can get expensive with some of the top-of-the-line models running over $300. I always recommend an average investment of $150. Your shredder should handle at least 8-12 pages at one time – – – anything less than that is really a waste of money, time and energy. Make sure your shredder has the credit card and CD slots for all of those mailed cards and discs that are junk. Also keep in mind your noise level preference. The quieter the model is, the more expensive it tends to be. Be sure to note the shredding cut style. Strips are fine, crosscut is better, and diamond cut is best.

I believe Staples has the cutest, mini-size shredder.

The M5 Mailmate Shredder looks like a toaster, has a 12-paper capacity, and runs under $100 online. The M5 is my favorite due to its perfect size. It fits nicely on top of a desk, credenza, or kitchen corner – – – wherever you open mail and pay bills.

If you have been a victim of identity theft, you already know why shredders are a necessity. Shredders are well worth the investment for your peace of mind. Shredders not only eliminate paper clutter but they protect your identity. 

If you have an unsurmountable backlog of shredding, consider using a commercial shredder to get rid of it. Major office supply stores offer shredding services priced by the pound – – – but you have to lug it all in. Commercial shredding services will travel directly to you; but, they tend to have minimums and/or are pricey. Too often I see clients save an ugly, old, paper ream box in their office or home, where they keep piles of paper clutter “to be shred.” Not only is that an eyesore, but you’ll probably never find the time to get to that “to shred” pile. No time like the present when it comes to shredding. Have an efficient shredder handy where paper work lands.