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Spring Cleaning? To Shred Or Not To Shred?

Written by Heidi Schwartz. Posted in Facility Management, Security

Tagged: , ,

Published on April 29, 2011 with No Comments

With spring in full swing, many organizations are planning to or are already in the throes of purging paper records and other items that they no longer need to store.

Whether overseeing this for their own department or helping other departments in the organization to clear out their offices, facility managers should ask the following questions: Do I know what documents are in the filing cabinet? The storage closet? The top desk drawer? It could be anything from Social Security Numbers to Tax Returns to Payroll statements; all confidential information that could be detrimental to employees and their companies if placed in the wrong hands.

Shred-it, an information security company, acknowledges that every document eventually outlives its useful purpose and counsels that retaining them too long, can actually put you in jeopardy of non-compliance under the privacy legislation. How long business records are stored should be determined by a retention schedule that takes into consideration the records usefulness to the business as well as legal requirements.

From a risk management perspective, once this period has passed, the only acceptable way of discarding these records is to destroy them using a method of complete destruction. Shredding is the safest way to ensure that documents are completely destroyed.

While Shred-it encourages a “shred all” policy to ensure complete security of critical documents, the below documents are priorities of what to shred when spring cleaning the office:
What to Shred

About Heidi Schwartz

Heidi Schwartz

Schwartz joined Group C Media in April 1989 as managing editor of Today's Facility Manager (TFM) magazine (formerly Business Interiors) where she was subsequently promoted to editor/co-publisher of the monthly trade magazine for facility management professionals. In September 2012, she took over the newly created position of internet director for TFM's parent company, Group C Media, where she is charged with developing content and creating online strategies for TFM and its sister publication, Business Facilities. Schwartz can be reached at

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