Keeping Yourself Safe: Personal Documents that Need to be Shredded

Keeping Yourself Safe: Personal Documents that Need to be Shredded

Every day we encounter sensitive information, whether about ourselves or others. From credit card offers to travel plans, many documents contain information that we want to keep secure and private. Making sure that this sensitive information stays private is a key way to protecting your finances, your identity, and your privacy. Disposing of these personal documents that need to be shredded is the best way to ensure that this sensitive information won’t make it into the wrong hands.

 What Should I Shred?

Most people encounter dozens, even hundreds, of documents per week. From medical records to coupons, it can be hard to know which documents contain sensitive information. Most documents that contain any identifying or sensitive information should be shredded in order to avoid problems. Some of the personal documents that need to be shredded include canceled and voided checks, education and employment records, and medical and dental records.


While most documents should be properly disposed of in order to protect this sensitive information, there are some documents that are so important they should be kept forever. These documents include birth certificates and adoption papers, social security cards and citizenship papers, marriage and divorce decrees, and death certificates. Documents that include car titles or home deeds should also be kept for the duration of owning the property.

When Should I Shred?

Documents vary in importance depending on the information they contain. While some documents lose importance after a short period of time, others may contain information that can be necessary years down the road. Understanding the contents of each document, when they can be disposed of, and the best way to properly dispose of this information is an important part of keeping your information private and protected.

Shred Immediately

Documents that are used temporarily for payment or offers can be disposed of once the actions required are taken. All offers received in the mail for stores or credit cards can be shredded immediately. Documentation or bills for credit card and utility payments may also be disposed of after the payment is made. Any receipt may be disposed of immediately after the purchase, unless it contains a warranty—in which case, keep the receipt for the duration of the warranty and then shred it.

Shred Within One Year

Some documents may be necessary weeks or months after you obtain them. Hold onto bank statements, pay stubs, and medical bills (even if they’re paid) for a year. This allows you to dispute a claim if needed.

Shred After Seven Years

While IRS documents are extremely important, you don’t need to hold onto them forever. The IRS says that you can discard any old tax documents and support documents seven years after filing.

Shred Once Expired

Certain documents eliminate the guesswork of when they can be disposed of and provide an expiration date. Many federal documents should be shredded after the expiration date has been reached and you have received an updated copy. Some examples of these kinds of documents include your driver’s license and insurance policies.

Don’t Forget!

The average person encounters dozens of documents each week. It can be hard to know which personal documents need to be shredded, and which contain important information for the future. Don’t forget to dispose of the following documents to keep your information and identity protected.


That junk mail can be more than annoying—it can put your personal information in danger! Make sure to shred your junk mail to keep important information about your identity and habits out of danger. Those travel plans might be nice to look back on, but they could also be leaving sensitive information vulnerable. Shred any travel documentation such as boarding passes and tickets. Birth and death announcements are often held onto for nostalgia, but still provide a danger. Only share announcements with those who need to know and be sure to scan and shred any documents containing sensitive information about a loved one that has passed.

Get Professional Help for Personal Shredding

Greenway Shredding and Recycling isn’t only here for commercial or industrial needs—we’re also here to help you! Contact us today to make sure your sensitive documents are shredded and properly disposed of, keeping you and your loved one’s information protected.