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Set Up Home Paper Shredder Area For Discarded Paperwork

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Today's mission, which is part of the Declutter 365 missions, is to create a shredding area for discarded paperwork.

This mission is simple and straightforward.

We know that a lot of the paperwork that comes into our home each day is junk, or eventually becomes that after its usefulness is over.


How and why to set up a home paper shredder area for discarded paperwork, plus how to not let your shredding pile get too unwieldy {on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest
However, as we also learned from my article about the 15 types of documents to shred to protect your personally identifiable information, you don't want to just toss some of these items directly into the recycle bin or trash can, or it can cause you a lot of headaches with identity theft or fraud.

So inevitably you're going to need to shred a bunch of stuff.

Part of your daily routine for organizing paperwork is to identify what papers came into your house that day that need to be shredded.

Ideally you'd shred those types of papers immediately. If you can do this, this is the easiest way to keep up with your shredding pile.

However, I know how life can get in the way. You may not want to keep your home shredder hooked up all the time (such as for safety reasons with young kids around) or because it just isn't feasible for you to shred daily as part of your routine.

That's OK. If you can't shred immediately you need to designate a space in your home, preferably close to your paper shredder, assuming you have one, to hold that paperwork until you do have time
to shred it.

Plus, even if you do shred daily, when you do periodically purge older papers, such as in file drawers, you'll inevitably run across more stuff that needs to be shredded, and these things will also need a temporary home while they wait for their turn in your shredder.

Also, if you don't choose to have a shredder in your own home, but instead use a shredding service to periodically destroy all this stuff, you need such a holding area for discarded paperwork even more.

Why is this so important? Because if you don't have a designated home for this "to be shredded" paperwork you'll pile it on your kitchen counter, or another flat surface, and then you'll not only have avalanches of paper piles, as it quickly accumulates, but then you'll have to go through all this stuff again, trying to decide what to save versus to get rid of.

So as I said before, this mission is quite simple and straightforward, but yet it is vitally important to set up a good overall system in your home for keeping paper clutter at bay from now on.

Once you've set up this holding area for paperwork you've decided must be shredded, the other key to making this work is actually shredding regularly, so these piles of stuff don't become too large.

I've provided a few tips below on that issue, plus provided some pictures and cautionary tales from some readers below to help you keep up with your shredding pile from now on.

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Tips For Keeping Up With Your Shredding Pile

Tips for keeping up with your home shredding pile, so you don't end up with huge quantities of paper to shred all at once {on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

As I mentioned above once you set up this shredding area in your home what you don't want is for all that paper that is destined for destruction to pile up to overwhelming levels.

If you let it get out of control it can take literally days to shred it all, if you do it yourself.

Here's a picture from a reader, Nicole, who spent 3 days shredding paper that she found all around her home when she was doing the paper decluttering portions of the Declutter 365 missions. She said, "tadah, this is what 3 days of shredding looks like. I told you all it was BAD."

3 days worth of paper shredding takes up a lot of space, but Nicole got all that paper clutter out of her home when working through the #Declutter365 missions {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}


So what should you do instead of letting it accumulate to gargantuan proportions? You know the answer, because it is simple, at least in theory. Deal with it regularly, when the piles are still small.

So how do we do this in practice to make it easy?

The answer is that if you get too much paper clutter that needs to be shredded all at once, such as if you do a huge purge of your filing cabinet, for example, you should at least consider using a shredding service for that huge pile.

Using one of these services costs some money, but you just drop off the paper and they charge you, typically per pound, and shred it right in front of you with fast industrial machines, so you don't have to do it yourself, sheet by sheet like you have to with many home paper shredders.

Plus, when you shred a lot of papers in one session with home shredders you run the risk of overheating them, and burning them out. You really can't do too much at once, the shredder won't let you, which can be frustrating. That's yet another reason a shredding service can come to your rescue when things get pretty out of control.

You can read more in my article about how and why to use a paper shredding service if you've got a lot of paper to declutter at once for more details.

How and why to use a paper shredding service if you've got a lot of paper to declutter at once {on Home Storage Solutions 101}


But I do suggest having a paper shredder of your own in your home, and if you keep up with the shredding pile regularly at home shredding can be quite efficient (plus you don't then have a time period where all your papers do pile up to large stacks while waiting for the next time you take it to a shredding service).

(By the way, if you want help finding a quality paper shredder for your home, check out my article with all the criteria to look for here.)

List of criteria to help you find the best paper shredder for use in your home {on Home Storage Solutions 101}


So one method is to shred daily, as you sort through the daily mail and other papers that come into your home. But if you can't do this you need to set up a designated time to do your shredding routinely.

You can choose the amount of times between when you shred. I personally suggest the maximum time between shredding sessions be a month, although some people who don't get a lot of junk mail or other influx of paper can do it quarterly.

While I think a month is the maximum amount of time to let these piles accumulate, I believe that the ideal time between shredding sessions is a week. That means you should set aside time each week to do this shredding.

That may sound hard to do, but this is really a minor task, and to make it easier I suggest you batch this task in with many other paperwork and financial tasks that you will do during your weekly paperwork session. (Click the link to learn more about this weekly task.)

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Declutter Your Shredding Area Today If You've Got A Lot Of Papers Waiting To Be Destroyed

If, today, you already have a shredding area set up, but your shredding pile is a bit out of control, take the time today to tame the pile.

Here's a picture from a reader, Sally, who did this, and sent in her photo to show her results.

Once you have an area set up for shredding paper, you need to keep your shredding pile under control, or take the time today to declutter those paper piles by shredding them, 15 minutes at a time like a reader, Sally, did {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}


Sally said, "OK I am making a start! . . . I made a start by clearing the 'corner of shame' where we used to dump stuff that needed shredding then ignore it until it got out of hand. I moved the shredder into the dining room/office next to the filing cabinet, shredded most of it, and created temporary files which eventually will go in the red cabinet once that's set up. I am hoping to get to a stage where paper never enters the living room!"

Want To Do More Decluttering Missions? Get Started With Declutter 365 Today!

Declutter 365 missions: 15 minute missions for your entire home

Once you declutter one type of item in your home I bet you'll want to declutter some more. After all, decluttering gives you a great reward for even a small investment of time and energy.

The Declutter 365 system is designed to help you declutter, over the course of a year, your entire house, with just 15 minutes of decluttering each day!

Hundreds of thousands of people use this proven system to get rid of their clutter, and bring peace and calm back to their homes.

Declutter 365 works to guide you to clear the clutter without overwhelm, focusing on just one small area at a time, and without making a huge mess in the process, so you see consistent forward progress without all that "messy middle" that makes it even harder to function in your home than before you started.

In addition to building a daily decluttering habit, the Declutter 365 program, along with the accompanying 52 Week Organized Home Challenge, teaches you the skills, habits, routines, and mindsets necessary to maintain the clutter free and organized state of your home from now on, so it'll never be as messy and cluttered as it is right now, ever again.

If you haven't already, make sure to get your copy of this year's Declutter 365 annual calendar here (it's FREE!), find today's date, and do 15 minutes of decluttering on the day's mission. Then, repeat again tomorrow, and again and again. Over the course of the next year, if you do this 15 minutes per day, you'll declutter your whole house!


Click here to take me to this year's Declutter 365 calendar



Related Pages You May Enjoy

Getting Clutter Free 15 Minutes At A Time Hall Of Fame

Getting Rid Of Paper Clutter Hall Of Fame

Go From Set Up A Home Paper Shredder Area For Discarded Paperwork To Home Page

Comments for Declutter Your Shredding Area Today If You've Got A Lot Of Papers Waiting To Be Destroyed

Click here to add your own comments

Community Shred and Recycling Rules
by: Anonymous

I am a scan and shred fanatic and have two things to consider when decluttering paper. The first is that our county does a monthly community shred and various banks and charities do them at other times of the year. I purge everything into designated bags or boxes (depending on what the shred event counts by). My husband gets up early one Saturday and takes everything. They shred it right in front of you. A year worth of shredding is done in one 30 minute errand. We do prefer the events where you watch them put your stuff straight into the shredder. We always do the free ones or one where you can donate a couple cans of food.

Our community lets us recycle virtually anything and we don't have to separate recyclables within the bin, but I did learn not long ago that shredded paper is not generally accepted. This is because the fibers aren't long enough to go through the process. This was an eye opener since I had been trying to get every tiny scrap into paper recycling and I wasn't doing it right.

My system
by: Ellie Edwards

I shred anything that has my name and address or any personal information on it as soon I have gone though the daily mail. Junk mail can be recycled to save space in the shredder. I also shred any envelopes (both return and outside envelopes) that have barcodes along the bottom because they probably have personal information included in them. I also line my shredder with a plastic bag held down with clips so getting rid of the shredded stuff is neater and can be contained. Saves a lot of mess.

Animal shelter
by: David

Just a suggestion to recycle you shredded paper. As long as there are no metals or cds, bag up your shredded paper and take it to the local animal shelter. They use the paper for bedding for the different animals. You do a good service with your discarded paper, so it's a "win-win" deal.

Great article.

Love our shredding routine
by: Anonymous

Paper shredding is one of my favorite success stories:
Since my husband likes to bring in and open the mail--and he is good at sorting out the junk--this is his task. He makes a pile at one end of our dining table containing empty envelopes and unnecessary papers. Since we eat at this table, I get right at it, every day. Step 1: pull out anything with no personal info and put it directly in the recycle bin. That gives immediate satisfaction. Step 2: Go through the rest and rip off anything with our name, address and especially account information, Step 3: Take what is usually a very small amount to the shredder and shred. A few papers need to be shredded whole, but it's usually just smallish pieces.There is always just a small pile and I'm done in five minutes or less.
Purging is another story, but still manageable. He usually only purges two or three files at a time but it's still a sizeable pile and if the timing is bad I've been known to stick it in the paper bin under the paper grocery sack I use for storing sorted recyclable papers & cardboard. It might sit there a year or more (forgotten) but at least out of sight. Usually, I go through the stack in the same way as daily mail. Most of these papers need to be shredded whole, so I fold them in a way that fits our shredder and stack them a bit off-set so they're easy to pick up. This next may be silly, but it adds interest to a boring job: I put the stack on a counter to my left, with the shredder on my right and do a bit of a twist between picking up the paper & inserting it in the shredder. Gives me some waist trimming and I'm aiming at being fast enough to keep the shredder running continuously. For me, doing the shredding in steps helps because it's small bites. Keeping it done daily means it's fast, and making a game if the purging keeps me sane.

shredder area
by: Anonymous

Looking for ideas for what to keep the paper waiting to be shredded in. I really don't like using a cardboard box because it can look as bad as the pile of paper itself. Something with a lid?? A copy paper box is not tall enough. It would be helpful if it can be used as double duty to carry the paper to the shredding location. I don't like wrestling with home shredders.

Reply re question about shredder area
by: Taylor

This is a good question. One of the Declutter 365 missions is to create a shredding area, where you can hold papers that need to get shredded between shredding sessions, either when you shred it yourself or drop it off somewhere else to get shredded. You can check out that mission and article here.

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Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to paper clutter.


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