So, in preparation for the move, I took the large bin labeled – or, well, not actually labeled, it’s metaphorical – “shred before disposal” and put it through our shredder, an agonizingly slow process made worse by the knowledge that it would have been a lot less painful without the procrastination; as I reached the bottom strata I was finding stuff from September 2007.
Everything was in more-or-less-perfect FILO order, so it was kind of interesting from an archeological perspective. I ran across school bookstore receipts, amazon shipping notices, auto loan statements… and then, near the bottom, I found the point where I had told the credit reporting agencies that I no longer wanted to get pre-screened credit card offers.
I really didn’t realize, at the point where I did it, just how much junk mail it was going to eliminate. At a conservative guess, between CapitalOne and American Express “Blue” and Wamu and Chase and Citi and so on and so forth, I was getting 8 or 9 of these things a week. Figure about 5 sheets of paper per offer, 40 sheets a week… that adds up to a lot of paper I’ve managed to not get in my mailbox in the last year and a half or so.
There’s a web site run by the credit agencies you can visit if you want to have the same ephiphany. Mind you, I don’t recommend the “putting off shredding sensitive mail for 19 months” part of the process, but you can go with that if you want to.