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Paper Shredders- You Get What You Pay For!

Home Office Paper ShreddersOne of the items mentioned in my post 10 Steps to Organizing Your Paperwork was to get a good home paper shredder and use it.  With the rise of identity theft, shredding your sensitive documents—those containing your social security number, account numbers, birthdate, and even your address—is a must.  But should you just go out and purchase a low-cost shredder at the office supply store?  If your volume of paper is very low, this may be okay.  But my experience has been that with shredders, you get what you pay for.

Many years ago when I decided to purchase my first shredder, I simply went down to my local OfficeMax and chose one from its selection. I knew enough to stay away from the super economy models, but didn’t want to spend a fortune either, so I ended up with what I thought was a nice mid-range model for $54 and figured it would do the job.  I don’t remember now what brand it was, but what I do remember is how frustrating it was when it would jam after about every 5th paper I put into it!  Besides that, it’s receptacle for the shredded paper filled up incredibly fast, and I often could detect a burning smell as the device overheated.

Finally I got fed up and Googled something like “heavy duty shredder” in an attempt to find a better solution.  The results of this search ended in my purchasing the .  It cost $179, over 3 times more than the one from OfficeMax, but in the end, it was worth every penny!   I’ve had this shredder for over four years, and it’s still doing the job, and doing it very well.  The moral of the story:  invest in a decent shredder!

Note: this particular model is no longer widely available. Amazon has another very similar shredder called the priced at $169.99.  This model was recently recommended highly by a Professional Organizer colleague, so I have confidence that it works as well as mine does.

Another alternative to a home shredder is using a shredding service.  You can take your boxes of papers down to your local or UPS store, where they typically charge by the pound.  Occasionally you can find free community shredding events, where you bring your backlogged shredding to the specified location on a certain day.  However, if you’ve got a huge volume of paper to shred, you may be better off calling in a mobile shredding service like Shred-It or ProShred to come directly to your home or office.

However you decide to handle your shredding, make sure you do it regularly and don’t risk your personal information falling into the wrong hands.

Do you have experience with a relatively inexpensive paper shredder that has worked well for you?  What shredding services have you used, and how satisfied were you?  Please share!

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