Declutter with Confidence: Pierce County’s Guide to Document Shredding

by | Jan 25, 2024

Hello, it’s Lisa Racca! As your trusted real estate agent in Pierce County, my commitment to you goes beyond just finding your dream home. Today, let’s talk about something equally important: keeping your personal information safe.

Pierce County Shredding Events

Every so often, Pierce County hosts free paper shredding events. Here’s the best part: attendees can bring up to three shopping bags full of papers to be shredded. But, before you start tossing every piece of paper into those bags, here are some guidelines to help you sort things out.

What Should You Shred?

According to the Attorney General’s Office, prioritize documents containing:

  • Account numbers
  • Birthdates
  • Passwords and pins
  • Signatures
  • Social security numbers
  • Credit card numbers

However, things like names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers can also be shredded if you want some extra peace of mind. Just note that this information is typically accessible online and is not as critical for shredding.

What NOT to Bring to Shredding Events

Save yourself the hassle by not packing:

  • Already shredded paper
  • Hard plastics
  • X-rays
  • 3-ring binders
  • Garbage

How Long Should You Hold On to Sensitive Documents?

Going through old files can be daunting. How do you know what to keep and what to shred? Here’s a brief breakdown to help you out:

  • Tax Records: Seven years
  • Pay Stubs: One year
  • Bank Statements: One year
  • Credit Card Statements: Minimum 45 days
  • Medical Records: One to five years, depending on the type
  • Insurance Records: Life of the policy plus five additional years
  • Utility and phone bills: After payment
  • IRA Contributions: Until withdrawal
  • Home Purchase/Sale/Improvements: Six years after the sale
  • Warranties: As long as they’re valid

The Recycling Question

Now, you may wonder, “Can I recycle shredded paper?” It’s a bit of a tricky one. While the City of Seattle suggests that cross-cut shredded paper isn’t recyclable due to its short fibers, it can be composted. However, some sources say bundled shredded paper can be recycled. So, always check with your local waste service provider.

If you’re looking for creative ways to reuse shredded paper, consider these:

  • Filler for gift bags or baskets
  • Packaging for fragile items
  • Bedding for hamster cages
  • Worm composting
  • DIY kids’ projects, like pillow or bean bag stuffing

Lastly, if you opt for commercial shredding services, many of them recycle the shredded paper. Their methods vary, so it’s wise to ask about their specific procedures.

Closing Thoughts

Protecting your personal information is crucial in today’s digital age. By taking advantage of Pierce County’s shredding events and following these guidelines, you’re taking a significant step towards safeguarding your privacy.


Learn more about how you can benefit from having Parkside Realty take the stress and worry out of managing your rental property. Get my free Ebook “The Ultimate Guide to Rental Property Management” with this and many other important topics about successfully managing your rental property at our website – or give me Lisa Racca a call or text at Parkside Realty (253) 537-0274. Our team is dedicated to providing exceptional property management services tailored to your needs. Let us help you maximize the potential of your rental property while enjoying peace of mind.

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