I have often recommended a shredder as an essential home office tool for disposing of sensitive information. I wrote about how to use a shredder carefully here.
But a while ago my shredder died, and I haven’t replaced it. I did, however, hang on to the basket to keep all my sensitive and private papers till they can be destroyed. So, without a shredder, how do I stop that information falling into the wrong hands? Well, here are some alternatives that work…
If you have a fireplace or firepit, you could burn those papers. I’ve used the fireplace at my holiday house occasionally for that.
If you have access to a workplace with a secure bin for offsite shredding, you could take them there. This worked for us for a while, but these days my husband rarely goes into his office.
If you have a caged bird, you could line the bottom of the cage with the papers. A client of mine had a pet cockatoo who loved to shred papers with its beak.
One imaginative client of mine put her papers in the bathtub and soaked them until they became pulp and then mashed them all into a ball to put in the rubbish bin. That seems a bit labour intensive to me, so I wouldn’t recommend it.
If you have a lot of papers to dispose of, you could hire a secure bin from a document destruction company like Shred-X. I’ve used them when clients have a large backlog to deal with. It’s a great, cost-effective alternative to a shredder, and a good company will provide peace of mind with a certificate of destruction.
If you don’t have a large backlog to deal with, there is a simple, inexpensive tool you can use to obscure the sensitive information so that it’s completely unreadable before putting the papers into the recycling bin. It’s called an identity theft protection stamp and there are several on the market. You simply roll the stamp wheel over the information you want to hide. It does a remarkable job in a very short time.
So I won’t be buying a new shredder any time soon. How do you deal with your sensitive documents?