So, you know that feeling when you finally get through that huge box of papers you've been putting off sorting? I had the feeling, but I also had almost 10lbs of papers that should be shredded. I was going to bring it to Staples or something, figuring they'd have a big bin of stuff they shred and I could just dump it in. Well, they had a bin, but they charge $0.49 a lb for the service of shredding it. I had almost 10 lbs of paper! I didn't feel like spending $5 to have it shredded. So, how much is a paper shredder? Staples has a basic, no frills straight cut shredder for $19.89. Well, I don't feel like spending $19.89, either! What's a girl to do?
Simple. Browse the thrift stores. For some reason, paper shredders accumulate at certain locations (those near concentrations of small businesses, especially.) Once you find the store, wait for a sale day.
The Paper Shredder
I went on a 50% off day, and found this OfficeMax shredder with a basket for $5.00 (50% off from the $10.00 they were asking.) I was able to test it at the store, and this thrift store has a store-credit return policy, even on electronics, if brought back in 14 days. Thankfully, I didn't have to return it, as it worked like a charm.
So, after successfully shredding all my paper that I had to, I basically have a free paper shredder. I plan to leave it by my mail sort area, so it will double as a recycle bin for paper. Thinking about it, it is hard to buy a small trash bin new for $5, these days. I may have to do a post on all the crafty things I will attempt with my easily made paper strips.
Other ways to shred:
Other ways to get paper shredded for free could be asking a local business you deal with (consider one that handles legal or health documents) to see if you could place a one-time or occasional deposit in their certified shredder bin. They pay by the pound, usually, so the dollar or so you might cost them in weight they'd give you as a perk for your business. Some libraries,too, have these shredder bins, too, so it never hurts to ask.
Burning of paper can make it unreadable without a paper shredder, so roll up some paper logs if you have a fireplace or fire pit.
And then there was paper...
So, this is what my first 5lbs of shredded paper looked like! Doing a little hunting online, I think I'm going to try make it into paper firepit logs, for my mother-in-law's fire pit. Just gotta wait for a sunny day (which, in Arizona, you'd think wouldn't be a problem, right?) Check out other ideas collected on Doralene Altizer Bailey's Pinterest Board, "What to do with shredded paper."
Paper or plastic? Both.
Deciding to have a back up plan for the shredded paper (in case I don't get to the project) I checked and curb recycling takes shredded paper. The downside is they require it to be in a CLEAR plastic bag. I don't buy garbage bags, let alone clear ones. I noticed Staples carries clear 15 gallon garbage bags, $11.99 for 50/Box. I didn't want to spend $12 bucks for what would probably be a 10 year supply for me. What to do?
Well, here is where the line between frugal and cheap starts to blur with me. I was visiting a friend in the hospital, and I noticed the hospital has all clear garbage bags in their bin. Remembering my days at the nursing home, I peaked under the bag in the bin, and sure enough, there was a roll of 'em. I ripped off three bags and tucked them in my pocket (while my friend laughed like a woman on pain meds). I figure the hospital pays $0.05 a bag, so I made sure to pick up all the bits of garbage I found on my way out, including in the parking lot. That had to save the custodial staff $0.15 worth of time, right? Line... me... fuzzy.
By the way, there is no greater feeling than sitting on the couch, shredding documents like an Enron CEO. After you do it for long enough, you actually feel your eyes getting shifty.