Whether you have a home office or simply want to dispose of important documents the right way, you’ll need to check out the paper shredders that are on the market. There are many pieces of paperwork that shouldn’t just be balled up and tossed in the garbage. Anything that contains important, personal information should be shredded.

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Important Documents to Shred

It’s not always easy to know which documents should be shredded and which you don’t need to go through that trouble for. The main purpose of shredding documents is to protect yourself from identity theft. Follow a few basic rules to protect vital information.

Always shred documents that contain the following:

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  • PIN numbers
  • Account numbers
  • Signatures
  • Passwords
  • Social Security numbers
  • Birth dates

Some people also shred documents that contain their full name or last name; home address or mailing address; e-mail address; and phone number. This would include junk mail, which is why many people don’t go through the trouble of shredding less-sensitive documents. However, if you’ve ever been the victim of identity theft, you know that you can’t play it too safe.

On the other hand, not every document should be shredded right away. For example:

  • Credit card receipts should be kept for 45 days
  • Tax documents should be kept for seven years
  • Mortgage documents should be kept for six years after the property is sold
  • Pay stubs should be kept for one year

Types of Paper Shredders

When it comes to paper shredders, there are a few different types to choose from, such as any of the following:

  • Strip cut shredders are the most common type because they’re the least expensive. Paper is cut into long strips of a preset width.
  • Cross cut shredders use cylinders to turn the paper into tiny pieces.
  • Micro cut shredders offer the most security because they turn the paper into a sort of dust.
  • Commercial paper shredders are best for office use. Businesses often have a lot of documents that need to be shredded, and commercial paper shredders are designed to handle big jobs.

Shopping Tips

To find the best paper shredders, you’ll need to do a bit of homework, and it will help to do any, some, or all of the following:

  • Read paper shredders ratings to hear what other people have to say about different shredder brands. For example, if you’re interested in Fellowes shredders, read user reviews before purchasing any one shredder.
  • Read Consumer Reports to find out the best shredders on the market and to narrow down your choices.
  • Compare prices at a website like PCWorld.