The years' worth of clutter surrounding you feels like walls closing in on you. You want to get rid of it but aren't sure where to start? A shred of advice: Shredding documents may be your ticket to a clutter-free living or working space and thus a clutter-free mind.
During the past few decades, high technology has taken over society, but society's reliance on old-fashioned paper remains prominent in both the home and the business setting.
Unfortunately, many people keep paper documents beyond their life cycles, and their spaces are crowded and disorganized as a result.
The question is, what do you do with all that paper once you're done with it?
If you need to get organized fast, start by shredding documents. Here are several reasons why shredding documents should be the first on your cleaning list.
Let's dig in!
Shredding Documents Protects Your Identity
Perhaps one of the most important reasons to shred documents is to keep your identity safe.
Research shows that over eight million households experienced identity theft back in 2010, which led to financial losses totaling more than a whopping $13 million.
Shredding documents remains a top method for guarding yourself against identity thieves. These documents include the following:
- Medical records
- Insurance information
- Tax records
- Blank checks
- Personal bills
- Bank statements
If an identity thief can locate just one piece of personal identifiable information regarding you, such as a bank account number or Social Security number, the thief can use it to apply for a loan or credit card or to buy virtually anything.
So, take time to shred your documents. You'll stop someone else from going on an early Christmas shopping spree at your expense.
Improve Your Mental State
Shredding documents is the perfect way to start the new year not feeling bogged down by the piles that have overstayed their welcome in your home or office.
Removing unnecessary paperwork is not just good for your office or home: It's good for your head. After all, your living and working environment oftentimes mirrors your current emotional state.
The more you shred, the more focus and clarity you gain. And you also experience less stress.
Because you've finally gotten rid of the mountains of documents you don't need, and you know exactly where to find the rest of your still-relevant paperwork. That means no more worrying about trying to find certain documents when a loved one asks about them.
On top of that, you no longer have to feel self-conscious about the place you call your home or office. Now, people can unexpectedly come a-knocking and you won't have to think twice about letting them in -- or letting them in right away.
Any document that is no longer serving you now has control over you. Shredding them to smithereens and not looking back is the only way you can take back your control.
How Do I Go About Shredding?
You know all of those documents from years ago that you kept telling yourself you'd shred when you had time? Well, time's up.
Now, you just need to bite the bullet and get rid of them.
But remember, it took you years to acquire all of that paper, so eliminating it all will take some time.
Begin purging at the front area of your files or piles, starting with one folder or bag at a time.
The process might be slow, but you'll eventually get it done.
You may end up discovering whole files or bags dedicated to documents you no longer need -- for instance, projects you chose not to begin, or motor vehicles you no longer own.
But how do you know if you should keep a certain file until the end of the month? Or until after your yearly review? Or for five years?
If you're not sure what to discard versus what to keep, consider asking your attorney or your business's auditor for advice. They might suggest that you scan certain documents and go ahead and toss the hard copies away.
But don't go crazy with the scanner, either. There is such a thing as electronic clutter, too.
If you are real with yourself, you'll realize that the ratio of items you should shred to those you can scan is probably 10 to one.
Once you've gone through your old stashes of paper, you need to establish a new purging system you can use regularly.
For instance, choose to revisit your files either semi-annually or annually.
Better yet, why not shred a piece of paper as soon as you take it into your home or office from your mailbox?
Choose a method that works for you, and stick to it. Then, say adieu to those piles of paper you never want to see again.
Reduce the Paper You Use
You're now at a point where you feel good about the level of clutter in your home or office -- and thus in your mind.
But how do you keep this shredding-sparked nirvana feeling going?
You stop the amount of paper coming to you that has to be shred in the first place.
Having collections of paper all around you is outdated and unnecessary, so start embracing the paperless movement.
Choose to view your bank statements and credit card statements online rather than getting them in the snail mail. You can even view and pay your utility bills online these days.
Likewise, you can complete a wide range of business transactions and even handle your financial investments on the World Wide Web. And anytime you need records of these activities, you can simply log on to password-protected sites and access them 24/7.
Moving more of your important activities online will quickly simplify your home and office and, in turn, simplify your life.
How We Can Help
We offer a broad array of high-quality shredders designed to meet your home and/or business needs.
Contact us to find out more about how using our shredders can play an invaluable role in getting organized in 2018 and staying that way in the years to come.