How to Clear Your Shred Pile in a Flash without a Paper Shredder

Here you’ll find the fastest way to shred paper without a paper shredder. This simple tip saves time and is cheaper than buying a paper shredder to destroy your sensitive documents.

The obvious thing would have been to stay on top of the paper shredding. Instead, I sat on the floor in front of my little $30 shredder, deconstructing a mountain of paper one sheet at a time.

The tiny motor would labor on until it overheated or inevitably ground to a halt and I had to pick the tiny bits of shredded paper to free up the jam.

I repeated the pattern until I got bored or ran out of time. And the shred pile would live on for another day.

This was once upon a time, before I had kids and had the space to think about such things.

Fast forward to this Fall as I was doing some decluttering, and guess what.

Different day. Different paper. Same problem.

It was time to find a solution.

What Documents Should You Shred?

My first question was whether I needed to be shredding all that paper at all.

From my research, you should shred anything that has personal information on it including:

  • Your name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Social security number
  • Account numbers

This might include:

  • Bills
  • Receipts
  • Bank and Credit Card Statements
  • Pay Stubs

Source 1, 2, 3

Do you need a paper shredder?

I briefly considered whether I should go ahead and fork out $100 or more for a higher quality shredder.

However, this seemed to be at odds with my goal to declutter the house!

Fastest Way to Shred Paper without a Paper Shredder

By now, our documents-to-be-shredded bag had overflowed into a documents-to-be-shredded box and was threatening to demand landmark status and its own place on the map.

Keeping the pile sitting around seemed like almost more of a threat to our identity security than throwing it away.

Finally, we happened upon the perfect solution.

Copier and mailing stores like FedEx, UPS Store, and some local options offer document shredding by the pound.

For 75 cents per pound, we shredded over a year’s worth of documents for only $12.

This seemed like a bargain compared to spending $100 for a decent shredder that may not last long enough to prove its worth and clutters up our space.

I love it when the world of getting organized collides with easy ways to save money.

This time, Paper Mountain disappeared for good.

What do you think? Is it worth it to buy a paper shredder? How do you deal with sensitive documents?

shannon Clark, LIFE & FINANCIAL Coach

As a mom, I know what it's like to feel exhausted, overwhelmed by life, and inadequate to meet my children's needs. But I also know you don't have to stay there.

As an author and coach, I've had the joy of encouraging more than 9.1 million moms to find forward motion with their faith, family, and finances — without the frenzy.

Will you be next?

26 thoughts on “How to Clear Your Shred Pile in a Flash without a Paper Shredder”

  1. I like my small paper shredder for checks that I deposit through mobile deposit. It’s good to get those shredded right away, imo, and stack up all the other big paperwork for the shred events.

    • bucket of water and a drill with a paint mixing attachment.

      dump contents in a garden or anywhere for that matter.

      helps to let papers soak for a bit.

  2. Save the $12 and use the papers to start and feed a campfire. Use the saved money for hot dogs and marshmallows and make a party out of it.

  3. I tear off name and address plus any other identifying info such as bank accounts. Then I tear again and place in my kitchen compost container. By the time I am ready to put in the compost bin the paper has become a soggy mess. I do this every day and saves paper pile upsb

  4. Soak in water for 3 days being sure to keep it well covered. Stir vigorously until it is disintegrated to your liking. Strain it keeping the water to use on the next batch if you are doing a little at a time or use it to water your lawn/plants it won’t hurt them. The left over pulp can be compacted (again there are many ways be creative) and left to dry then used as charcoal substitute or fire logs. spread out and not compacted they can be used as small pet bedding. It makes a great mulch for your garden as well. I feed mine to my earthworms and get awesome compost out of it!

  5. Thankfully I happen to work for an insurance company so they their own shredding bins (that are locked and only the shredding companies that come pick up the bins has the keys). So I try to bring a stack every weekend. If I didn’t have this I’d definitely be using FedEx, etc. for only $12. Not worth a shredder.

  6. I would love to find a place where I can shred my own papers in high quantity. I don’t want someone else rifling through my papers at the other end of that shred service.

  7. Not sure of the date of this original post but it is up to $1.49 / pound for shredding through FedEx (not $0.75 as indicted above). Just an FYI.

  8. To avoid huge piles of paper on your desk, make it a habit to go through the stack several times a week. Start at the top of the pile and do something—anything—with each piece. If you can’t figure out what to do with it then, place it in a holding file, assign it a date and deal with it later.

  9. I had my identity stolen at a Fed Ex store when I left it to be shredded. I usually keep up with my shredding but have found myself cleaning out an old file of my son’s and here I am with over 1,000 to destroy. I may try the water since my $30 shredder is not going to handle it.

  10. I worked for a credit union and every spring post-tax season they would have shred days for free, and not just for members.

    That was Mississippi Gulf Coast at Keesler Federal CU. Check around though, I bet your bank would shred stuff for free, too – especially financial stuff. And if they don’t have a shred day, ask them if they’d be willing to have one. They are already contracted with confidential shred companies for their own stuff. Good community service and PR.

  11. I had about a hundred pounds of paper to shred. I simply took it all to the laundromat and tossed it in the largest washer they had, paid a few bucks to start it, and left.

  12. My shredder was only $30 from a discount store a few years back (I can’t recall if it was Big Lots or some other locally owned discounter). It was rated strong enough to shred credit cards (but really doesn’t do them well). It shreds probably 6-8 pages at a time. Are these smaller shredders not available any longer? My husband also enjoys throwing stacks on our out door firepit if we let the pile build up too long.

  13. Wonder if a dollop of pulp paper from soaked documents would a useful base gift for Elementary school, church kindergarten, cub scouts etc., paper mache source? class or individual projects (characters from books), religious holidays, heroes, animals, (recognition figures) could be a ‘win-win’ solution.

  14. Office Max & Office Depot let you shred your documents for free up to 5 pounds. Also, you can shred at Department of Workforce Services for free (any amount). At least they do at the DWS Office in Clearfield, Utah.


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