Having a clear out – as an individual or as a professional – is never easy. Not only is it hard work, it also always takes longer than you think.
With paperwork, that’s even more true. Looking at everything to double check if you want to keep hold of it, pondering over legal requirements to hang on to things, or whether you might ever have a need to provide the receipt for your coffee machine purchased in 2015.
And of course, you have to think about how to safely dispose of it. Anything which includes your name and address or other contact details is a potential fraud risk. That’s before you’ve even got started on account numbers, customer details, NHS numbers and all the myriad of other information which is often included on paperwork.
And that is where a professional document shredding service comes in. You can, of course, shred things yourself on a home shredder. But as you may well have experienced, not only is that a slow and boring process, it also is likely to give up or overheat at the first sign of trouble
So you’re best off doing an internet search for ‘shredding services near me’. Hopefully, if you’re near Leeds, that will be McCarthy’s Safe Shred! We offer home shredding services for individuals, but we also offer a business shredding service. Something for everyone. And it’s as easy as filling a sack or a console which is returned to us (or we can collect if you’re a business customer) and we then put that through our industrial shredders. The paperwork is completely destroyed and, importantly, it’s recycled. It’s sent off to recycling centres in the UK to be turned into paper towels and toilet rolls.
When you’re looking at document disposal, which documents can hit the shredders and which should you hang on to? Many people will have different requirements, so the list below is only a guide – seek professional advice if you’re unsure if you need to hang on to something.
- Letters from the bank – if these are for information only, you probably don’t need to keep hold of them.
- Used prescriptions or letters from medical facilities – if you don’t need these for reference and they can no longer be used, they should be shredded.
- CVs/application forms – these can contain a wealth of information about you, ideal for a scammer.
- Travel documents – if they’re no longer needed, time to get rid!
- Receipts or shipping notices – unless it’s something you’re likely to need to return (and even then if it’s after the statute of limitations) you may as well shred it. Keep warranties as long as they are valid still.
- Notes, diaries and address books – it’s amazing how many times you might have made a note of someone’s bank details, or have jotted down an email address and phone number. Best to be on the safe side and shred them.
- Death, birth, marriage and divorce certificates should always be kept.
- Wills should similarly not be destroyed.
- P45s/P60s need to be kept for several years, as does anything from HMRC.
- Bank statements – although many of these are now online so you may no longer get paper copies. How long you need to keep them for will depend on various factors.
- Car ownership details/MOTs/Service books – keep them for as long as the vehicle is yours and then keep proof the vehicle is no longer yours!
- Property information – such as deeds, planning permissions, building regulations, house insurance, mortgage details etc – best to keep those to hand in case they’re needed. Some of them you will require if the time comes to sell.
If you have paperwork you need to keep hold of, but which you’re running out of space for, don’t forget we also have storage units in Leeds. Starting at the size of a locker or phone box, it can be the ideal place to keep paperwork safe, which you don’t need day to day, until you’re ready to get rid of it.