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Get rid of all your INTERIOR FUELS

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A pack rat’s guide to shredding

May 1, 2015

by Lisa Weintraub Schifferle Attorney, Division of Consumer and Business Education, Federal Trade Commission

Is your home a pack rat’s paradise? You’re not alone. As you start spring cleaning, are you wondering what to keep and what to shred? We’ve looked at experts’ advice and compiled this summary of how long they recommend keeping certain documents. Put our handy graphic near your shredder as a guide. 


Save forever

Keep documents related to major life events – birth, marriage, divorce, and death. Lock securely:

Birth certificates or adoption papers
Social Security cards
Citizenship papers or passports
Marriage or divorce decrees
Death certificates of family members

Also, keep auto titles and home deeds stored safely for as long as you own the property.

Tax Records

This time of year, the big question is: what tax records can you shred, and when can you shred them?

Tax returns – Our conservative advice? It’s best to keep these forever.
Pay stubs – Shred ’em after checking them against your W-2.
Home improvement receipts – Keep these receipts until you sell your home, since certain expenses may reduce your capital gains tax.
Other tax records – like tax-related receipts and cancelled checks – Wait seven years before shredding. Why? While the IRS usually has three years to audit you, it has up to seven years under certain circumstances. (If you file a fraudulent return, then the IRS can audit at any time – but for the average honest taxpayer, seven years works.)

If you’re unsure what tax records to keep, consult an accountant or call IRS Taxpayer Assistance at 800-829-1040.


Other Records

Most experts suggest that you can shred many other documents sooner than seven years. After paying credit card or utility bills, shred them immediately. Also, shred sales receipts, unless related to warranties, taxes, or insurance. After one year, shred bank statements, pay stubs, and medical bills (unless you have an unresolved insurance dispute).   

For those who are thinking, maybe I should keep everything, just in case. . . remember that identity thieves can’t find documents you have destroyed. Destroying documents with your personal information reduces the likelihood of becoming an identity theft victim.

Shredding is just one way to reduce the risk of identity theft. For other tips on preventing identity theft, visit

Shred Your Old Documents, Newspapers, Magazines, etc

Thank you to our sponsors for making this service possible!

Free document shredding is back for 2024!​​



We are happy to announce that thanks to a grant from CAL FIRE and the California Climate Investments Fire prevention grant program*, we will continue our Free Document Shredding events for 2024.

Thanks to Rim of the World High School for again being our host!

Dates for 2024 are:

June 8

July 13

August 10

September 14

All events will be on Saturdays

Time is 10am to 2pm


(that hasn't happened yet,

but we have come close!)




This service is FREE thanks to our sponsors. However, you must complete a service form

upon arrival. If you would like to complete it

in advance, click on the PDF icon below to download the form, fill it out and bring with

you. A form is required for each event date

(if you make multiple trips on one date, only

one form is required)


Bring your documents and watch them be destroyed right in front of your eyes!  No worry about your personal info being found later!

NO Metal or Hard Plastics! NO CARDBOARD! 

Manila folders, envelopes, magazines, paperback books, paper clips and staples, binder clips,

acco fasteners are OK!

*This Document Shredding programs is  part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment– particularly in disadvantaged communities. The Cap-and-Trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. California Climate Investments projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable  agriculture, recycling, and much more. At least 35 percent of these investments are located within and benefiting residents of disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, and low-income households across California. For more information, visit the California Climate Investments website at:

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