How to Choose the Right Paper Shredder [infographic]

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paper shredder

As much as we might want to think we’re past the use of paper at the office and at home, we’re not. First of all, not everyone has entered the digital age. Some people still rely on printed items in order to keep records or pay bills or track accounts. And sometimes you have to print things, be they documents or timelines or organizational charts.

So as long as we have paper, we’ll also need to have a shredder. Even when we’re done with a piece of paper, we can’t necessarily just toss it, particularly if there’s sensitive information on that paper that someone could make use of for illegal or unethical purposes.

You may have your favorite products, but since not everyone uses the same amount of paper or has the same type of information, not everyone needs the exact same kind of paper shredder. What they need depends on several factors, including space available and capacity required. How do you pick one? This infographic explains it.

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Paper Shredder

Pin this post so you can refer to it the next time you’re helping a client choose a paper shredder!

Photo © tdoes1 / Depositphotos

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Janet Barclay

A former professional organizer, I now eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

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  1. Avatar Seana Turner on October 24, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    I have a micro-cut shredder that I absolutely love. It takes up to 8 pieces of paper at a time and is very sturdy. My husband likes to shred everything, so it gets a lot of use. I do believe it just convenient to have one of these in this day and age. Ideally with a small trash can nearby to hold the “to shred” paper until you have time to run it through.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on October 25, 2018 at 2:01 pm

      I keep the shredder handy in the office and use it whenever I have something to shred. It used to be that when I was cleaning out the filing cabinet, I would just bag the paper and take it to a shredding facility, but my old shredder could only handle 1-2 sheets at a time. I might not have to do that with my new one.

  2. Avatar Shannon Gibson on October 29, 2018 at 8:19 am

    I use shredders to protect my privacy of course, and to eliminate any paperwork clutter. However, a few clients, even those with a home office did not have one. And for people who are struggling financially, a little trick that I’ve done myself is to simple use a permanent marker to black out any pertinent information then bag it as you mentioned. Certainly this option isn’t as convenient or efficient as using a shredder, but if need be, it still gets the job done.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on October 29, 2018 at 12:26 pm

      Definitely better than nothing! I do the same when I receive packages.

  3. Linda Samuels Linda Samuels on October 29, 2018 at 8:32 am

    We have a micro-cut shredder that works beautifully. We do a lot of shredding. Several of my clients prefer to bring their papers to the local “free shredding day” that various towns periodically sponsor. They’ll have a shredding truck where you can watch your documents being shred. There is also a county recycling center in our area. It’s great for larger quantities of papers (about four boxes worth) that can be shred for free. For clients with substantial shredding projects, we’ll hire a shredding company to do the onsite shredding. Those are some other options. For most of us, though, that have papers to shred on a regular basis, it’s convenient to have a personal shredder.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on October 29, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      Those are excellent options. A lot of people probably prefer to save up their paper and take it somewhere than to purchase a shredder.

  4. Avatar Stacey Agin Murray on October 29, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Shredders–I refer to them as the toddlers of the organizing product world because they are temperamental, overheat quickly, and are finicky when it comes to what we feed them. And speaking of toddlers, when my kids were younger, I’d place a paper bag from the supermarket over our shredder so they wouldn’t bother with it. Tucked it away in a corner and just lifted the bag up when I needed to use it or empty it.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on October 29, 2018 at 12:29 pm

      Very good, Stacey! And they usually can’t handle as many sheets as they say. I’ve spent more time than I’d like to remember, trying to unjam a shredder.

  5. Avatar Sabrina Quairoli on October 29, 2018 at 11:44 am

    I have a full-size micro-cut shredder (the ones you have above) as well and it does a wonderful job making confetti out of my sensitive papers. A larger shredder works great for mass shredding also. I used it to shred my father’s and mother’s papers after then passed.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on October 29, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      I used to have one that could only handle a couple of sheets, and it was fine for day-to-day stuff, but useless when it came time to purge the files.

  6. Avatar Kim on October 29, 2018 at 8:13 pm

    I find that often the clients I am working with do not have a shredder and that is something that keeps them from letting go of paper. This is helpful as really the cost of a shredder is not that much but obviously if you get a cheaper one it will take more time to shred. Actually, 6 sheets at a time would be pretty good. My home one is about 3 at a time or it jams up. I will pin your post for future.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on October 30, 2018 at 12:16 pm

      My old one could only handle two, though it was supposed to be able to do six sheets. I love my new one – it can even do credit cards and CDs!

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