What to Shred & What to Keep

When it comes time to separate the “to shred” and “not to shred” at your Virginia, Maryland, or Washington, DC home or office, it can be a bit difficult to tell what exactly goes where. You certainly don’t want to belatedly realize you had something you needed, but now it’s gone for good! But you most certainly can’t hold on to literally everything, or you’ll soon find yourself drowning in unnecessary paper.

What documents need to be shredded? What papers do you need to keep? Don’t worry! At TrueShred, we work hard to ensure we’re providing you not only with top-class document destruction services but that we’re giving you the right service to suit your needs. As a home or small business owner, it can be tough to pick out the shreddables and keepables, but our team is here to help you out.

Is it time for a shred session for your business or home office? At TrueShred, we recommend that you follow conventions for record retention and document destruction for your business and personal documents. When it’s time to securely purge your files, call TrueShred—we come to you!

Business Information That Needs to Be Shredded

Most people err on the side of caution when it comes to holding on to personal records and paperwork and wonder if it’s really necessary to shred documents. After all, no one wants to be caught missing a critical piece of information—like a doctor’s bill, a credit card statement, or an invoice. It is important to keep certain documents for recommended periods of time.  However, retaining too many, for too long, can defeat the purpose of proper record keeping, leaving your files disorganized with many unnecessary items.

Government agencies, large businesses, and corporations typically have guidelines and requirements regarding how long to keep certain documents.  However, small businesses and households generally do not. It can be confusing to determine what paper documents you can shred and what you should retain.

What Documents Need to Be Shredded

Items that should be shredded include most documents that contain personal or confidential information. There are some exceptions to this as some documents should be held on to forever, but as a general rule of thumb, you want to dispose of items that contain identifying or undisclosed information. Here are some examples of what documents you should shred:

  • Account Records
  • Audits
  • Bank Statements
  • Bids and Quotes
  • Business Files/Records
  • Client Lists
  • Competitive Information
  • Computer Records
  • Correspondence
  • Credit Card Information
  • Drivers’ License Numbers
  • Employment Applications
  • Estimates
  • Financial Statements
  • Health Insurance Forms
  • Injury Reports
  • Insurance Records
  • Intellectual Property
  • Internal Memos
  • Inventory Records
  • Invoices
  • Legal Documents
  • Market Research
  • Medical Records
  • Obsolete Contracts
  • Payroll Records
  • Personnel Files
  • Phone Records
  • Photographs
  • Price Lists
  • Purchase Receipts
  • Sales Forecasts
  • Social Security Numbers
  • Tax Records
  • Telephone Numbers
  • Training Information

Client Data That Needs to Be Shredded

  • Bids and Quotes
  • Checks
  • Computer Records
  • Price Lists
  • Proprietary Information
  • Receipts
  • Invoices
  • R&D Files

Personal Information That Needs to Be Shredded

  • Addresses
  • ATM Receipts
  • Brokerage Accounts
  • Canceled Checks
  • Debit Card Numbers
  • Credit Reports
  • Paycheck Stubs
  • Insurance Policies
  • Investment Statements
  • Medical/Dental Records
  • Passport Numbers
  • Resumes
  • Tax Forms
  • Used Airline Tickets

Electronic Media That Needs to Be Shredded or Destroyed

  • Hard Drives
  • CD-ROMs
  • CD-Rs
  • DVDs
  • Computer Backups
  • Microfiche
  • X-Rays
  • Videotapes
  • Cassette Tapes
  • Product Samples
  • Prototypes
  • Uniforms
  • ID Badges
  • And More!

Not Sure About What to Shred?

If you have any doubts about what documents to shred and what not to shred but still want to streamline your files, consider scanning those documents and keeping them on a hard drive. That way, you will always have access to the information without cluttering your space with hard copies of files that you might never need.

If you are unsure what receipts are safe to throw away and what receipts you can throw away, check out our blog.

Emergency Kit Documents

For citizens affected by natural disasters or other sudden catastrophic events, guidance is provided by the United States government, with the assistance of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA has put together a plan called the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit, or EFFAK, to use as a guideline for determining which documents should be readily accessible, should an emergency arise. Documents to keep in the EFFAK include:

  • Birth and marriage certificates
  • Social Security cards of household members
  • Will and/or trust documents
  • Powers of attorney
  • Recent income tax returns
  • Passports and/or other identity documents
  • Military discharge papers
  • A list of your prescriptions and those of your family members

Putting together an EFFAK can provide you with some peace of mind and save valuable time in the case of an emergency.

If you have questions about shredding or document destruction/retention protocol, call TrueShred at (888) 750-8783.

Why Is Document Organization So Critical?

Why not just shred it all? Well, in a nutshell, it’s all about relevance. There are countless situations we encounter in our daily home and business lives that require documentation. You need certain papers to properly do taxes, to update a license, as proof in a legal or business dispute—and what do these all have in common? They need certain paperwork, and for some problems, you can’t always be sure what you’re going to need.

By formulating a shred/no shred system in your space, you ensure that you always have access to critical files at any time, so you can avoid the headache of retrieval or duplication, which often requires huge amounts of time, and sometimes a fair bit of cash, as well.

In light of the above points, why not just keep it all? A similar answer: relevance. By keeping outdated, old, and useless paper, we complicate our homes and offices. We generate absolutely huge amounts of paperwork and documentation every single day. A year’s time from now, that neat little pile is now an insurmountable mountain, and it only gets worse from there. Secure shredding services from TrueShred help you to stay organized, safe, and informationally secure!

Where Are Places To Shred Your Documents?

At TrueShred, we offer multiple document shredding options:

  • Bring your obsolete and no-longer-needed personal documents and papers to the next TrueShred Community Shredding Event. Shred events are essentially a “drop-off” style service that we offer on a routine basis—most often monthly. This is a great opportunity for smaller businesses and homeowners to securely rid themselves of unwanted documents and media in a safe manner. The service generally charges by the box for “standard” size boxes and runs for four or five hours in specific locations. For detailed information on dates and more, we urge you to keep an eye on our event calendar.
  • Have your document shredded at your home or office! Aside from Community Shredding Events, TrueShred chooses to operate on-site only, both for our sake and for yours. Operating on-site offers distinct advantages by restricting the chain of custody to our trusted employees only and helps keep things clean, safe, and secure for our clients.

Secure Document Shredding Services in the Washington, DC Area

No matter if you need a one-time shredding service or ongoing secure shredding for your business, TrueShred can provide! We’ve been offering secure, safe, and reliable shredding to home and business owners across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC for years, and we can ensure your needs are totally met.

Contact a TrueShred professional online today to learn more about our service, or to schedule the handling of your “to shred” documents and papers!

Upcoming Events

10:00 am Monthly Community Shredding
Monthly Community Shredding
May 11 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Recycling Event To accommodate residential and small business clients, TrueShred offers a paper shredding drop-off option. Bring your medium sized boxes (Regular Bankers Box) of sensitive papers and for just $10 per box watch the
Katy Moore, Office Administrator - Law Office of Kevin Wilson

”I have worked with several document destruction companies over the past ten years and until contracting with TrueShred, I hadn’t met a company with which I felt so compelled to share with professional colleagues. TrueShred’s personnel are always polite, considerate, timely and attentive. . . I trust all of my future shredding needs to TrueShred!”