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The end of the holiday season means the beginning of a whole new and much less fun season- tax time! I can hear your collective groans now! It’s also the season of purging the old to make room for the new. The two kind of go hand-in-hand, since you need to dig through mountains of paperwork and sort out the necessary documents versus the junk you kept “just in case” to figure out your taxes.

Cleaning out the clutter is a great way to start fresh in the New Year but there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. You can’t just go throwing out paper with personal details all willy-nilly. That’s the best way to ensure that a thief steals your information and takes a vacation to Bora Bora on your dime. That is a real place, right? Take a look at these tips to safely clean out that paper clutter.

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Tips to clean your paper clutter in a way that doesn’t let thieves take vacations on your dime

  • Make three piles: stuff you need, stuff you definitely don’t need and stuff that you’re not quite sure about.
  • Immediately file all the important stuff that you’re keeping in the proper location so it’s out of the way.
  • Go through the stuff you don’t need. Make two piles this time: stuff with identifying information on it and plain old junk that doesn’t have your name on it. You know, like Page 2 of documents that contain boring privacy policies that everyone gets.
  • Take the stuff that has your identifying information on it and run it through your shredder. I recommend the Fellowes P-12C. It shreds through up to 12 sheets of paper, staples and all. Better yet, it shreds them into 309 pieces, making it hard to reassemble!

 

  • Now you’re left with the “not sure pile.” Take the time to scrutinize every piece. If you still can’t decide if you need it, consider scanning a copy into your computer, then shredding the original. That way you have it, but it’s not cluttering up your house! Shred everything else.
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Voila! Now you have a perfectly organized paper system and you’ve safely gotten rid of everything you don’t need. I wrote in detail about the Fellowes P-12C a couple of weeks ago. In case you need a recap, my favorite features include:

  •  SafeSense® technology which automatically disables the shredder when hands touch the paper opening, so I’m far less likely to lose my fingers!
  • Sleek design that makes it easy to fit into small home offices.
  • A price tag of around $99, making it a budget-friendly shredder.
  • Ability to cut through credit cards, junk mail and, of course paper.

You really can’t go wrong with a Fellowes shredder! As I’ve said before, I have two of them and they’re both amazing!