To shred or not to shred, that is the question (What documents do you shred at home?)

So I sort of have a growing pile of things that I have to shred that I am currently neglecting to shred and it is currently full but I have pressing issues to attend to at the moment. This got me thinking (just to procrastinate a bit more), what do you guys shred in your paper shredders at home?

For me:

  • Anything with my part of my name
  • All documents from:
    • banks and other financial institutions
    • hospital/clinic
    • lawyer’s office
    • car dealership
    • written correspondence

There are a few issues I would like to ask for your comments:

What is a “good enough” size of the shredded document? I think I have a P4 shredder and in my rural area I think it is plenty enough. We all want the smallest one but they are hard to find, expensive, may not ship to all parts of the world and might not have the correct voltage for the plug.

Things with bar/QR codes on parcels are sort of a blackbox because it could have hidden identifying info/unique numbers that may mean to OSInt people. I shred them as well. I could try to find and match the method of encoding but it is too much work and shredding is easier.

Should we shred the whole receipts or only the part/segment with our name and part of our credit card number. I guess for normal people like most of us, this should be enough. For vulnerable people, everything with time and date stamps should be shredded as well to avoid creating a pattern of behavior to prevent profiling (do you only do groceries on friday past 5pm?).

I am currently having trouble with the shipping labels/parcels that has my name and address to it. They are made of stickers attached to plastic and it sort of ruined my first paper shredder. I should burn them but it feels bad to do so for the environment and it smells bad as well. I am wondering if black markers will do to redact segments of information. Some labels are thermal papers and must be passed to something hot like a candle or an iron with paper in-between, of course (ask me how I find that out :sweat_smile:)

Should we burn the shredded documents? Paper is paper so should we even shred if we burn? We could use shredded documents as kindling in places that uses charcoal/wood burners. In that route an old linear paper shredder may actually be desirable for that because it is hard to burn confetti sized paper as kindling. What shredded document goes to the trash?

Finally what am I missing? Any other suggestions and thoughts? I think a shredding guide should also be discussed in the website.

Thank you!

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I don’t know much about this subject, but IMO, the site is more geared towards digital privacy and thus a shredding guide wouldn’t really fit with the overall theme.

I don’t know how to feel about your comment :thinking:. You are correct, but the digital world leaks all to easily in the physical world and it sort of make people easier to dox or identify so I find it a bit compelling to include it.

Paper shredding is part of the offline world and falls into physical security with a separate threat model akin to guns for defense kind of discussion and we don’t and probably shouldn’t(?) do that in the website as well.

Do others feel the same way with regards to putting a shredding guide in the internet?

Just shred all the paper.

Also don’t bother with cheap shredders (<$50), spending a slight bit more ($120) will give you a much longer lasting shredder. They also can run longer. Mine basically never overheats.

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Do you mind sharing the model and brand? I think I spent mine in the 100+ USD range and it still jams and overheats.

The model I have appears to have been discontinued and replaced with an inferior version.

You can also try to find an actual used enterprise style one from eg. local business closing for the same-ish price.
But they’re often either like child sized tall or table sized wide, not something you can easily put under desk. Those things are like tanks however, they don’t stop at all.
Sites like and are great for finding them.

There is a trick to this!
Most of these are heat-activated paper.
You can take a blunt object and rub over it for a minute and it’ll activate all the carbon or whatever.


Im scanning all letters into my drive and shred them with an shredder which provides some sort of NORMS (DIN)

I hope this is a joke…


P4 shred everything containing PII since 9/11.
Grind mailing labels into small tight balls between palms of hands.
Store and gas receipts just go in trash because I’m nobody.

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