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How do you deal with mail/receipt piles?
Old 01-08-2021, 09:57 AM
  #1

A few years ago I noticed, over the course of a few weeks, that various people were rummaging through our trash cans that were placed outside for trash pick-up. At first I just assumed they wanted recyclables (which I always keep separate) but thinking back, I saw a couple people holding trashed mail as if they were sorting it. It made me stop to think what I had tossed. When I was being more careful, I realized that I carelessly was tossing random unsolicited mail that, in some cases, had my pre-filled personal details. Of course, I was also trashing lots of mail that had my entire name and address on it, which isn't so unusual, but that, too, began to bother me.

So... fast forward to now... I have accumulated waaaaay too many piles of mail that I have yet to go sort through and shred. I've tried to keep up with the piles but they've gotten away from me and I'm in desperate need of a system that works. What to save? What to shred? What to just tear up and toss? How to file?

Another issue I'm starting to have is receipts. I read somewhere that it's dangerous to just toss them if we use our debit/credit cards because some of our info is on them. Sure enough when I look at the bottom of the receipts there is 'gobbledygook' coded info that I don't understand, but I'm concerned that those with bad intentions may know how to decipher. Maybe I'm being overly cautious but if you have a working system in place for them, I'd like to know what works for you.

So, what are your successful paper clutter ideas? How about mail sorting, shredding, and filing tips? And how careful are you with your receipts?


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Sensitive mail/receipts
Old 01-08-2021, 10:11 AM
  #2

We burn ours. We do live in a very rural area though.
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Old 01-08-2021, 10:24 AM
  #3

We can burn too. I have read that some office supply stores have big shredders you can take things to have shredded for a cost. Maybe some day that can be an option.
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Old 01-08-2021, 10:28 AM
  #4

Used to wait a few months here before and a pile grew before shredding was done until....... the last big pile that was shredded burned the motor in the paper shredder. (The paper shredder was very old anyway.)

Got a new shredder, placed it right next the the computer desk area, and papers are shredded more often now. There is also a small trash can there just for papers needing shredding. They are placed in the trash can, unfolded ready for shredding. For receipts, once it's clear that no returns are needed, those get shredded. House repair, appliance, other important receipts are filed/saved.

Once it shows a transaction online in the account/payment history, the paper copy is not needed. I know that getting the bill on line and paying on line limits all the paper billing that is mailed, guess we need do that, but just not ready yet.

For this household, a more prominent placement of the shredder and just getting into a weekly habit on checking the "Papers to be Shredded" trash can makes all the difference here!

Hope you get some more ideas here that may fit your needs!
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Shredding and cutting...
Old 01-08-2021, 10:31 AM
  #5

I have a shredder, which I have used. I also stay on top of it if I don't want to deal with the shredder, by taking a scissor and cutting my address and name off of whatever I am throwing out. I do this with magazines, old address labels, paid bills I don't need once I've mailed the bill and things like that. Sometimes, I take a Sharpie and just blacken out my name and address. By doing it every day, I stay on top of it pretty much.

Because of the threat of identify theft, I am careful to do this with my mail and packages. I have never seen anyone going through our dumpsters, but I live in a condo development and don't know many of the people who live here. I believe you can't be too careful. I do have a neighbor who waits for the mailman and then dumps the mail she doesn't want directly in the dumpster without removing her name. I think she is foolish.


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Old 01-08-2021, 10:33 AM
  #6

I file what is important and need to keep. I have a place for bills that need to be paid. I shred anything that needs to be thrown out.
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Old 01-08-2021, 10:35 AM
  #7

I try to deal with it right away. As I go through the mail, I tear out any parts with personal information and shred them immediately, rather than adding to a pile to shred all at once later. The remaining unwanted paper is put immediately in the bag for recycled paper. As for bills and receipts, I also shred them as soon as they clear and I no longer need them.

Good luck! Paperwork is a hassle.
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Old 01-08-2021, 10:37 AM
  #8

Some items I shred, but on others I use an ink roller like this. It obscures your info so that it cannot be read.

I shred account numbers. I ink over our name and address. Larger paper pieces are more valued by recyclers.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Guard-You...e-160/24602746
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Old 01-08-2021, 11:03 AM
  #9

I rip our names/addresses off all envelopes and shred along with any inserts that include the same. I recycle everything else.
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Old 01-08-2021, 11:09 AM
  #10

We have a bin for junk mail by the door. My boys love burning it in the firepit.


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Old 01-08-2021, 12:16 PM
  #11

This is how we deal with mail/receipts:

---Things with just our address on gets tossed in paper trash

---Papers with offers to fill out that can include personal information get shredded

---Receipts often get shredded. Sometimes I toss in the trash, but then I poor something gross over it

Pretty brazen of people to be plucking your trash like that!
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Old 01-08-2021, 12:50 PM
  #12

Same as many here, I rip off then shred sensitive info then recycle the rest. I try to keep up with the mail daily, especially now that I do all my parent's mail too.

I rip first to minimize the amount of shred I have to deal with. If it's just my address, I just rip it in half. If it's something with account numbers, etc. I shred the personal pages of the bill and recycle the generic privacy notices, etc.

Last edited by MKat; 01-08-2021 at 01:55 PM..
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Old 01-08-2021, 01:42 PM
  #13

All of our mail gets burned. One plus to living rurally with an outdoor wood burner.
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Old 01-08-2021, 02:29 PM
  #14

I take it to the UPS store. They shred it for a by the pound fee.
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Old 01-08-2021, 02:45 PM
  #15

I just rip up unwanted mail and place it in the trash, nothing special.i could be completely wrong but I would think identity fraud is occurring much more through a myriad of electronic means these days than by somebody digging through trash/mail.

I live in a townhome so we have community mailboxes so all mail I receive is in a lock box until go get it and all of my bills are electronic so I get very little “real” mail.

Genuine question, why the concern about your name and address being on something?
At least here, all property records are public. I can find who own what property with a 10 second online search.


I don’t keep any receipts unless it’s for a home repair or something with a warranty. Many times I say no when asked if I want a receipt or opt for it to be emailed. I check my bank account app multiple times a day out of habit already.
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Old 01-08-2021, 03:17 PM
  #16

Once a week I go through the mail. Bills, important or shred. I put the bills and important papers in their places and the junk mail in a shredding bin. I shred for ten minutes a few days a week. I have gone through too many shredders by doing it all at once, so I spread it out.
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Old 01-08-2021, 03:26 PM
  #17

I have been paranoid for years ever since a neighbor had her identity stolen when the perpetrator(s) went through her recycling. They even got the title to her house changed. I shred.

Every time I get mail, I tear or cut off my name/address/account numbers from envelopes, magazines, junk mail, receipts, and so on. The tricky ones are stuff like life insurance solicitations, that have my name and address on top and bottom of every page, so I have to go through every single page. I have to do the same with credit card applications. Catalogs can be tricky, because they may have a preprinted form with my name and address inserted. All these torn or cut pieces go into the shredder. The rest goes into the recycling bin.

I throw the shredded material in my compost bin along with vegetable scraps.

Quote:
but I would think identity fraud is occurring much more through a myriad of electronic means these days than by somebody digging through trash/mail.
Absolutely.
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Old 01-08-2021, 03:33 PM
  #18

I shred daily. I keep my shredder next tomy desk where I sort mail. Anything with personal or identifying information gets shredded
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Old 01-08-2021, 03:41 PM
  #19

I bought a shredder for this reason. I shred anything that has identifying info on it. If it's just one thing, I may just quickly cut it up with scissors rather than taking it upstairs to where my shredder is.
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Old 01-08-2021, 04:03 PM
  #20

Quote:
I rip our names/addresses off all envelopes and shred along with any inserts that include the same
This is what we do after learning our lesson the hard way. We would have piles and piles of papers and mail to be shredded and shredding the was overwhelming. together we promised to shred as needed. We put the receipts, mail, etc right on top of the shredder and shred a few things at a time. We just don't let it pile up. It's one of the few things we are self disciplined about.
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Old 01-08-2021, 04:14 PM
  #21

For 25+ years we had at least one large dog. If the shred pile was piling up it went in the bottom of the box before my son did poop patrol.
We always made sure there was a box of poo added to the top of the garbage can before it was taken to the road on garbage day. Nobody ever dug through our garbage.

We no longer have dogs so we shred it when we have time or we burn it in the fireplace.

Receipts, etc. are thrown in a box. When the box is full I label it with the date and throw it in the basement. After five years I burn it.
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Old 01-08-2021, 04:23 PM
  #22

Quote:
I rip our names/addresses off all envelopes and shred along with any inserts that include the same. I recycle everything else.
I pretty much do the same as ZipLine. I try to go through it once a week or so, but more often I have a big pile to do at once.
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Old 01-08-2021, 04:48 PM
  #23

I shred as I go so it doesn't pile up. My shredder is right next to the mail bin. But anything I don't shred I toss with the cat litter. If you want to dig through used cat litter for a receipt, have at it.
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Old 01-08-2021, 06:28 PM
  #24

The rule in our house is that mail is to be sorted immediately and dealt with.

The reality in our house is: someone gets the mail and puts it on the counter, I come home and put it on the table. Eventually, the pile on the table gets to me and I put the pile in the office on my DHs keyboard and he takes care of it
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Old 01-08-2021, 08:18 PM
  #25

I have a pile of things to shred and every 2-4 weeks, I shred whatever has my personal info on it.
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Old 01-09-2021, 04:13 AM
  #26

We shred anything that has info on it. Easy, Peasy.
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Old 01-09-2021, 07:09 AM
  #27

We always just rip ours up into very small pieces.
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Old 01-09-2021, 07:33 AM
  #28

I tear our name/address off envelopes or papers and just rip them.

We shred papers that have lots of personal information. I usually just set them on top of the shredder and every once in a while ask one of my sons to shred them. They both like that task.
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Old 01-09-2021, 07:37 AM
  #29

As far as receipts, I usually decline them. If it's for a major purchase I save them in case we need some sort of proof later.

I typically shred bills or statements as opposed to filing them.

There's not much I file anymore. I keep medical records, anything related to car repairs, year-end statements, tax records...
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