What Documents Do You Need To Shred When You Move?

What Documents Do You Need To Shred When You Move?

Documents you should shred when you move include any old bank statements, credit card bills, photocopies of identity documents and more. All original identification documents, even ones that are expired and recent bank statements should not be shredded.

Whether you are hiring or long-distance movers, you should sort through your documents beforehand, deciding what items to keep, what to shred, and how to dispose of the shredded items.

Below is an explanation of what documents to keep, what items to shred, and how to appropriately dispose of the shredded items.

Documents to Keep

Regardless of how far you are moving there are some documents you should never shred or throw away. These include academic documents, such as your transcripts, diplomas, or other acknowledgments of academic achievement.

You should also hold onto certain identity documents, such as birth certificates, death certificates, driver’s licenses, employment records, marriage certificates, medical records, military records, passports, retirement or pension records, social security cards, and wills. Even if some documents are expired, you are better off holding onto the original document.

Even if these documents do not seem important at present, as they are expired or you no longer work in a field that is relevant to the degree you earned, you may need them in the future. Trying to obtain another original document is very challenging, which is why holding onto them now is the sensible approach.

Documents You Should Shred

One of the mistakes to avoid while moving is to hold onto all your documents and throw them away when you arrive at your new home. Consider that taking more belongings will increase the cost of your move, as the movers have to work longer to transport all your boxes to and from the moving truck.

There are documents you can shred right away, such as ATM receipts, cancelled or voided checks, old credit reports, old investment records that are no longer relevant, old luggage tags, expired credit cards or debit cards, old flight confirmations, and older pre-approved credit card applications or offers.

You may also have documents that can be destroyed in due time, depending on when you received them. For instance, bank statements that are six months old, along with bills, home improvement receipts, and paychecks that are more than one year old are all good candidates to shred.

Disposing of Shredded Documents

A key piece of advice for long-distance moves is to dispose of older documents you no longer need before the movers arrive. Create two piles of documents, one that you will keep and another that is ready for disposal.

Shred the documents that you are ready to throw away. You can buy smaller shredders online, or you can borrow one from a friend or family member. If you do not have access to a shredder, rip up the documents one page at a time into tiny pieces, and throw all the remains into a single garbage bag.

Your city likely has pick-up and drop off services, where you can have someone pick up bags of your shredded or torn documents. They will safely recycle the materials, ensuring no one can access your old documents.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do with large appliances I am not taking to my new home?

If you are relocating locally or long-distance and not planning to take specific appliances, you may want to sell these items. Appliances in working order are sellable through platforms like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. If selling is not a possibility, recycling is the next best option. Most cities and towns have recycling centers setup that can handle appliances.

Is it safe to throw my unneeded or expired prescription medications in the trash or in the toilet?

Prescription medication should not be thrown in the trash, as people may rummage through bins to obtain these medicines and resell them or use them without authorization from a doctor. It is also not safe to flush medicines down the toilet because they contaminate the local water source. If you do not want to take them to your new home, you can bring them to a local pharmacy for disposal.

What do I do with hazardous chemicals that my movers cannot move?

Almost all movers prohibit you to include hazardous materials, such as gasoline, cleaning supplies and old paint cans, as part of your relocation. If you wish to dispose of these items, you can offer them to friends or family for free, leave them in a common area of your apartment building for other tenants to take, or take them to a drop-off facility in your community for appropriate disposal.

Should I rent a storage unit to store furniture that will not fit in my new home or apartment?

If you are downsizing your living space in your upcoming move, you have two options for dealing with furniture and other belongings that may not fit in your new home or apartment. Those who want to save money, or avoid future hassle, should sell, donate, or throw away items they cannot set up in their new home. If you want to hold on to these items, you can rent a storage unit in your new city.

Can I pay my movers extra money to have them transport my car across the country?

If you are moving cross country and do not want to drive to your new city, you have to hire vehicle transportation companies to relocate your car. These companies offer open-top and closed-top transportation, with open-top being more affordable.

Final Thoughts

Going through boxes full of documents is never a fun activity, especially when you are dealing with all the other aspects of moving. Shredding papers is permanent, and you cannot retrieve a document after you shred it and throw the remaining materials in the garbage. That is why following the above guide is so important.

When you are aware of documents that require shredding, and what papers you should keep during your relocation, you can get through the process of sorting documents much faster.

Adam Palme - Author
Adam Palme

Adam grew up in military family, which meant he moved more than 20 times before he graduated high school. The experience taught him a lot about adaptability (and loading boxes), which he leveraged into a career in the moving and storage industry 7 years ago. He’s been working in sales and customer service management for 20 years, and he uses his own experiences to write content about moving, storage, leadership, and teamwork. Outside of work, Adam enjoys coaching youth football in Miami and enjoying some beach time with his dog. Go Dolphins!

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