How are you getting rid of old family financial documents?

I am currently clearing out our garage to put our house on the market, and I know I have several boxes/bags of old financial documents that I need to eliminate. They probably go back 10 to 15 years but a lot of our account numbers are still the same.

I bought a shredder the first time we moved with the intention of taking care of it then but it took way too long to shove through three or four sheets at a time. So I just moved it all but I’m not doing that again.

I did a little research and found several option. The UPS store and Office Max will let you bring in your documents. They put them in a locked box until they have enough to call the shredding company and then your documents are shredded. You won’t see them shredded and it could be anywhere from a week to a month later. The price varied from .50 to .99 cents a pound depending on the store and the amount you are shredding.

Now another company would bring a truck to you so you could physically see them shred your documents. For about $155 they would come to your house and shred about 5 file boxes or about 150 pounds of paper – so that works out to about $1 a pound but you’re seeing it shredded.

My mother is an accountant and is very protective of her financial documents. They recently moved offices and she had to witness her documents being shredded.

My girlfriend who just did a similar clean-out before her move to an apartment in Taipei said she just threw her stuff in the trash.

Michael suggested to burn it.

How are you getting rid of your financial documents? Are you shredding at home, dropping off,  or just throwing away? Do you feel the need to see them destroyed?

39 comments Add your comment

malleesmom

February 4th, 2014
4:59 am

When we relocated, we had the same issue. We have done both; shredded at home and used the UPS service. Burning is a great idea. I suggest checking with your local community recycling center to see if they have a shredding day. Ours does so people can bring their documents, watch them shredded for no cost.

FCM

February 4th, 2014
6:31 am

Do not just throw them away. Target’s issue this past Christmas shows how ID theft is crazy. I have had mine stolen 4 times…it is a mess!

Shred it. Let the kids shred too they will love it.

Side note from snow blog: Dr Hinojosa (CCSD Superintendent) announced resignation Monday.

motherjanegoose

February 4th, 2014
6:51 am

No random tossing things here. We have a shredder. I need to be more diligent about using it!

Macy

February 4th, 2014
7:20 am

Is this really blog worthy?

Shred your own documents. Buy a decent shredder, and put the kids to work. That’s the kind of stuff they love to do…and you can watch them shred your documents.

@ Macy

February 4th, 2014
7:34 am

Bless your heart, yes it is a blog worthy topic. Identity theft is a major problem these days with data breaches, etc. Your personal documents are not as easy to safely get rid of, as most inexpensive home shredders can’t handle the big job that we usually ignore until it gets out of control and too massive.

Here in Gwinnett we have a recycling center that has an industrial type shredder that the public can take a box or two. If go to the Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful website you can find out specifics. TWG there is surely a similar facility in you area that can do the necessary job. I hope this info helps Macy too as she sounds like the perfect target of an identity thief! ;)

HB

February 4th, 2014
7:53 am

I wouldn’t leave them somewhere to be shredded later. Call the truck, or check to be sure there’s not a free shred coming up. Those are sponsored by a TV station fairly often here.

PS

February 4th, 2014
7:53 am

Most of the shredding done at home gets tossed in a plastic bag then into the regular garbage. Not very Eco friendly when it goes to the landfill in a plastic bag.

@ Macy

February 4th, 2014
7:58 am

Agree with HB. At the Gwinnett facility you can watch as they shred it. Educational for the kids too!

Mother of 2

February 4th, 2014
7:58 am

Burn it in a fire pit if you have one. Roast marshmallows while you’re at it.

MomOf2Girls

February 4th, 2014
8:16 am

If you shred your own, make sure you have at least a cross cut shredder, rather than a strip shredder. It’s tedious but possible to reassemble strip shred documents, and tedious is definitely in the ID thieves’ vocabulary!

bhorsoft

February 4th, 2014
8:25 am

Google “free shredding services (your city here)”. You’ll find lots of free bulk shredding events.

cool and collected

February 4th, 2014
8:30 am

Over a month, I sorted through every old check, old papers, old (former client’s) basic info. I found a few items I kept, and I put the rest in a large pile. I then called a mobile shredding company who drove a truck to my home. I had 900 pounds of paper that they shred. I could watch the shredding take place via a camera and I got a certificate that papers were shred. It was cheap–$129 total. $69 for the first 300 pounds; $30 for each additional 300 pounds. So freeing.

If you don’t have a lot, take it to a county Shred Day; we have one in North Fulton.

cool and collected

February 4th, 2014
8:33 am

Uh…I would not recommend roasting marshmallows while burning documents with all that ink and chemicals on them.

xxx

February 4th, 2014
8:47 am

Burn barrel, Fill, light, relax.

CJ10

February 4th, 2014
9:17 am

I would NOT recommend the burning option. Something that seems so simple could get out of control in a hurry!

My experience with burning...

February 4th, 2014
9:25 am

…was that it took almost as long as shredding tow or three pages at a time – but, being a pyromaniac, it was fun…

My experience with burning...

February 4th, 2014
9:25 am

tow = two…

A

February 4th, 2014
11:52 am

Shred or burn. Do *not* just throw them out!

catmom

February 4th, 2014
12:23 pm

I would shred them myself. You should have been shredding before now–no reason to keep docs going back 15 years. I’ve always heard that 7 is the max time needed for most documents. If you really have hoarded that much stuff, then pay a company where you can witness the shredding. Personally, I would rather spend less money by shredding papers myself as I go along instead of waiting until I had a job too big to tackle.

Clark Howard says...

February 4th, 2014
2:12 pm

…you should keep financial records forever…

A

February 4th, 2014
2:34 pm

I like Clark, but do I really need to keep that electric bill from 10 years ago? I don’t think so. But we do keep copies of the taxes we’ve filed and have at least 10 years’ worth. But bills and such, especially if we’re no longer with the company, I shred them.

BAF

February 4th, 2014
2:47 pm

That’s why I love my wood burning fireplace.

BDAtlanta

February 4th, 2014
3:10 pm

Theresa is assuming we have any financial documents? You need money to have documents…

Sk8ing Momma

February 4th, 2014
4:12 pm

Shred — Thankfully, we’ve found an outfit near our house that shred’s documents for FREE. Whoo hoo!

Misty

February 4th, 2014
4:21 pm

We shred them and then burn them. If we don’t want to shred, we burn. Not taking a chance with the ID thefts.

Ann

February 4th, 2014
5:36 pm

Roswell residents can take up to 2 boxes (copy paper size boxes) per day to be shredded for free. You can watch the shredding on weekday afternoons between 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Documents brought during other times are placed in a locked container until the documents can be shredded. I would think that other cities would have similar free shredding options.

Please don’t burn these types of documents. We have enough pollution around here already.

Ann

February 4th, 2014
5:44 pm

Clark Howard does not say to keep all financial records forever – only specific documents (tax returns, contracts, real estate documents). For all other papers, he suggests varying time periods (some short, some longer – such as loan payments until the loan is paid off). For the specifics, go to: http://betterorganized.blogspot.com/2007/09/what-papers-should-you-keep.html

Macy

February 4th, 2014
6:28 pm

Shred those credit cards too. They are E V I L!

Cash baby. No worry about identify theft…..

Scooter

February 4th, 2014
6:56 pm

Just be sure to keep little kids and pets away from the shredder.

Burp

February 4th, 2014
10:15 pm

Y’all verklempt with 1st World prob’s…

DB

February 5th, 2014
12:30 am

We got a good shredder (NOT the $49 or $69 ones, they overheat and burn out too quickly when you have quantities.) Figure you’re going to pay between $129 – $189 for a good, sturdy one. Shredded while watching TV — stopped during the commercials to give the motor a chance to cool.

My husband had dozens of boxes of financial documents from old cases that he had testified in — he felt strongly about shredding them personally. It took about a month, but we knocked it out. I’d think that the kids would be ideal to help with this project.

Or, just bite the bullet and let the truck come and take care of it once and for all. You’ll feel better about decluttering and making some positive steps toward getting ready for your move. You should still get a good shredder, though — my mother shreds EVERYTHING, all the junk mail credit card offers, etc. I’m not quite that diligent, but at tax time, we do spend some time neatening our records and shredding old records.

HB

February 5th, 2014
2:52 am

Shredding does take time. Pay for the truck and wait until you’re in the new house to buy a good shredder — one less thing to pack. I’d say from now until the move, anything you can reasonably afford that saves time and effort, go ahead and pay for it. You’re going to have limited time and energy, you’re a single parent for chunks of time until you’re all permanently together in NY, and everyone is going to be under a good deal of stress. Make life easier however you can.

@ Macy

February 5th, 2014
9:33 am

Cash baby? Really? Bless your heart, you do realize running around with cash is far more dangerous and life threatening than the potential for identity theft?

FCM

February 5th, 2014
10:17 am

My mother is retired from a credit reporting agency. She strongly recommrnd you get a subscription ro monitor your credit for up to a year after the move. It is 14.95/ month for her old companies least expensive service.

She also recommends you have the truck come out to.shred. She did that woth Dads business records. Then shred at least once a quarter after you move with a personal shredder.

I got the credit reporting service monitoring subscription…and peace of mind followed.

Bill Clinton

February 5th, 2014
11:58 am

Don’t shred your old copies of Playboy.
Call me and I will come over and pick them up.

Dan Uggla

February 5th, 2014
2:06 pm

Theresa,

You teach a course in blogging yet you always miss days with a new post, such as today. Tuesday you only had 12 posts – not lighting the blogging world on fire. Most of the time you cut and paste other’s work and then bang out a few sentances followed by “What do you think?”. Its very boring and obvious you have run out of steam.

Michael is in Sochi yet you post nothing about that.

Hang it up, Theresa. Teach a course about blogging and miss so many days – you actually get paid for this crap?

Kat

February 5th, 2014
7:30 pm

I would have shredded before the last move for sure. You may look around your community. Here in GA, we have local events that encourage you to bring your stuff in – usually sponsored by local city governments.

Also, I’d worry less about people stealing your trash to get account numbers, and more on what’s happening online. It’s much more lucrative to steal online than to dig through stuff.

Kat

February 5th, 2014
7:31 pm

Since you are moving, be very careful as to who is aware of this fact. “Moving sales” signals to people that stuff will be in flux, as will the owners. Exercise caution.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

February 5th, 2014
7:55 pm

Sorry no post today — My youngest has the flu!!! Post is up now — related to it!

http://blogs.ajc.com/momania/2014/02/05/should-moms-be-put-on-tamiflu-when-kids-are/