Clutter can often feel like an inevitable part of life. It creeps up seemingly overnight leaving you wondering how it all got there. It’s something we tend not to notice until it creates a problem. While clutter is mildly annoying, it seems pretty innocent, until you realize it can come with a variety of consequences. A cluttered space, whether it’s your personal living space or your business location, has been proven to lower morale, attention span, and judgement while increasing stress and the chance of getting sick or burnt out. Whether you realize it or not, the most dangerous thing about allowing a space to become cluttered is that it can become a garden for identity thieves depending on the kind of clutter you’re storing.
If you’re someone who stores every medical record, financial statement, credit card bill, etc. with no sense of organization or security, these items can easily find their way into the wrong hands. For businesses in particular, this can be hugely problematic in the case of offices or retail locations that have stored the confidential information of patients, clients, customers, etc. for which they’re responsible. It sounds silly to say that clutter can become dangerous, but it can, and if you’re storing sensitive data, precautions are necessary.
Do You Need to Declutter? Here’s How You Know.
If you’re a packrat who stores photos, baseball cards, homemade art projects, and the like, no need to worry. However, if you’re storing paper records, hard drives, or other materials that contain personal data, not taking the measures to keep these items secure puts you or your business at risk for a serious information breach. If you must keep these things, make sure you have an organized system you can keep secure. If you’re hanging onto them without reason, however, storing them is only increasing the threat needlessly.
How do you know when it’s time to get rid of these materials? For starters, if you have collected so much that you don’t even know what you have and wouldn’t notice if it went missing, it’s time to declutter. Second, if clutter has taken over and you have no way to store its contents safely, it’s time to come up with a new game plan. Lastly, if you’ve ran out of room and are considering just taking it all to the dumpster or recycler instead of going through it, you’ve definitely waited too long. Getting to that fed up point when you want to just get rid of it all in one fell swoop is dangerous. Simply throwing away these materials releases them to the public where anyone can get ahold of them, and recycling doesn’t guarantee you that your information won’t come across the attention of a threat before recycling happens. If you’re running into any of these issues or are getting close, it’s time to declutter properly.
Our Top Tips for Decluttering
- Only tackle a little bit at a time. If you try to cram all your decluttering into one day, you’ll likely get frustrated or begin rushing as time winds down, leading you to make careless mistakes about what you’re discarding.
- Go through every last thing. Yes, this won’t be fun, but it will lead to tighter security. Take the time to inventory everything you’ve collected, dividing it all into categories of what can be disposed of as is and what will require security precautions to discard.
- Be brutal in what you get rid of. If you haven’t used it in so long you didn’t even know you had it, or if you have no legitimate reason to need it in the future, why allow it to take up space or remain vulnerable to theft?
How Regular Shredding Helps You Beat Clutter Before It Starts
Once you’ve figured out what you’re able to let go of, the items containing personal data will need to be destroyed safely. The only real way to do this is through a professional shredding service. This ensures that your materials go straight to the shredder and that every last bit is destroyed, rendering it completely unreadable. At A Shred Ahead, our shredding trucks come to you, so you can watch as your materials go straight from your home of office into the shredder, and you can witness the entire destruction start to finish for your peace of mind.
The next step is to prevent clutter from building up again. To do that, it’s smart to get on a shredding route with a reputable shredding company you trust if you’ll have a regular need to dispose of sensitive items. A Shred Ahead offers recurring route services with daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, and quarterly options. Depending on the volume of items you collect on an ongoing basis, just develop a system to keep them organized in the meantime and set up a shredding schedule that works for you. We’ll come directly to you every time and securely shred all your materials onsite. Making smart choices like this as you go will keep clutter from continuing to become a problem and keep your data and the data of those you serve safe.