Guest Blogger: Darla DeMorrow, Certified Professional Organizer ®.
Did you know that in addition to flowers, showers, and longer days, spring is also the season for paper shredding? Many communities hold shredding events where you can have bags of personal items shredded for free or next to nothing. The timing couldn’t be better, as many people are ready to let go of receipts from last year and older documents not needed for taxes anymore.
Of course, many people own a home shredder, which can shred a few pages at a time. You can keep your home shredder in good working order, and even shred a bag or two of household papers, by following these tips.
• Know your sheet capacity, then feed it only half of the maximum recommended sheets at a time, so it doesn’t have to work so hard.
• Shred selectively. Your name and address, which anyone can get from the internet or the phone book, doesn’t need to be shredded. Be sure to shred anything with financial account numbers on them, like your bank statements and brokerage accounts.
• Shred for only 15-20 minutes at a time, Your machine will overheat, and you can finish your batch another day, or after the machine has had a chance to cool down.
• Better yet, stop when you hear the motor or the blades laboring. That “rrr…rrr…rrr” sound means you are either feeding it too much paper, or the machine needs a break.
• Lubricate the cutting blades a few times each year with special feeder sheets or shredder oil for this purpose.
• Don’t keep shredding if the bin is full. The already shredded paper will jam up against the rotating blades, over-heating the shredder faster than needed. Empty the bin often.
• If your shredder is equipped to shred credit cards and/or computer disks, empty the basket of paper before shredding these items. Throw plastic bits out in the trash separately from the paper. The paper is recyclable with household recycles in most places.
If you follow these guidelines, your home shredder should do the job for many years. However, if you regularly have more than 2 shopping bags full of material to shred, you can search for free or low-cost community shredding events in your area. Just search “shred events” and your city,