Paper, Paper Everywhere – What Do I Keep?

Recently, I had a conversation with some colleagues about paper. . .

What do our clients want to keep and what do they want to shred? What, as professional organizers, we suggest our clients keep and shred. Do you know what kinds of paperwork can just be recycled?

It is a personal decision that you have to be comfortable with, but here are some guidelines to help you make that decision.

From the Washington State Attorney General’s Office.

What should I shred? In short, destroy all sensitive information including junk mail and
paperwork that includes:

  • Account numbers
  • Birth dates
  • Passwords and PINs
  • Signatures
  • Social Security numbers

To protect your privacy, you should also consider shredding items that

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • E-mail addresses

Here’s a blog post from organizer extraordinaire, Jerry Dansky.


Other issues that came up in our security related discussion were:

  • The safety of social security numbers.
  • Vulnerability through RFID chips in credit cards and passports.
  • Identity theft from your printer.

Thieves can now figure out a social security number by starting with just the last four numbers. Read this blog post by Robert Siciliano, Online Security and Safety Evangelist to McAfee to learn more about this issue.

RFID chips in credit cards and passports are also vulnerable to thieves. New to the consumer, but people have already figured out how to take advantage of this new technology. Here is a great article from Fox Business that explains the security issues.

Lastly, did you even know that your information can be found on a printer? Security issues are everywhere! The New York Times article on this explains the issue.

All this information is to inform you, not scare you. Set up a system for yourself to safe guard your identity. Be as diligent as possible to protect yourself.


About Basic Organization

Basic Organization provides professional organizing services to busy families, business owners, down sizing seniors and the chronically disorganized. We can teach you the skills to get organized and live a more simplified life. By providing you with ideas, information, structure and solutions to help you regain control of your space, we can cure the chaos in you life!
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