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DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Getting rid of catalogues---a question on identity/addresses... help! (Details follow.)

Asked by DarlingRhadamanthus (11273points) July 19th, 2012

I am helping someone clear out stuff to move to a new place. She had four or five stacks of catalogues…there were about 200, most were still in plastic. I thought they were old catalogues and she said, “No, these are just the summer catalogues….” I didn’t believe her, but sure enough they were all recent spring and summer catalogues. These were clothing catalogues, home dec catalogues, gift catalogues…you name it. She does a lot of catalogue shopping (No kidding..:)

I wanted to just toss them out into the rubbish/recycle, addresses, info and all. But she said, “No…we have to get rid of the addresses and check to see if there are customer numbers inside before we do that.” We started to do that and some of them had special offer “letters” or contests where they kept mentioning her family name over and over in different places and then it just got annoying. I said she was being too careful. She said, “Can’t be too careful these days.” It got annoying…and time consuming…so we set them aside to do this weekend.

My question: Do you think we need to go through each one, rip the name out (or mark it out) and then look for any identifying customer information, and get rid of that, too? Or is it safe to just toss them in the rubbish and forget about them?

Thank you.

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14 Answers

Sunny2's avatar

It never occurred to me, but if you’re a really cautious person, you have to do that. It may not be what you’d do; but she won’t feel comfortable unless it’s done. You’re a good friend to help.

Coloma's avatar

I wouldn’t, but I am just the opposite, maybe a little too careless at times. I rip up old bills and all kinds of stuff and just toss it in the trash. Never had an issue yet. haha
I think she is being a wee bit too anal, maybe slip her a couple of squares of ex lax and toss the damn things while she is indisposed. Better yet, have a bonfire, that should satisfy her paranoid streak. lol

Pandora's avatar

I rip it all out and throw it in a shredder. But if she doesn’t have one you can spay the pages down with some really strong bleach. Its quicker than trying to mark all the names out. The names aren’t as big as a deal as the address and any numbers that may be associated with her account.

Bellatrix's avatar

@Pandora is on to something here. I probably wouldn’t be so careful but I acknowledge with identity theft, we should all be more careful. Can you take the staples out and ask a friend with a shredder to just shred them? Might need an industrial job rather than one of those home things. If you know someone who has a business they might have a shredder.

bewailknot's avatar

I tear it out and shred it. If I had bad credit I wouldn’t worry about it, but my record is good. I would hate for someone to mess it up.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

I used to have a lot of catalogues and tried to organize them. It never worked. So, I just wrote to a lot of the catalogue companies and told them to not send them…that I would do my shopping online. (Though I still get a few gift catalogues.) It was getting out of control for me, too. That was a different problem, though.

I understand her concern (in a way). It looks like the only thing to do (really) is to rip off the address page, shred it and then search through the catalogue to see if there are any offer letters and shred those, too. I wish there was just an industrial shredder company close by and we could just take any papers/catalogues over there and get rid of everything. It just takes a lot of time to go through this stuff…when we need to be packing and tossing out other things. (It’s not like an episode of “Hoarders” or anything lol! But it is a lot of catalogues.) Do industrial shredder places take non-company stuff anyway? (Wondering.)

Another question: What about blotting them out with a Magic Marker? Would that work?

You know this reminded me…I had a friend once who called me one day and said, “Remember I told you I had a storage unit? I went over there today and just tossed all the boxes into the big trash skip they had at the storage unit. I figured that if I had lived without that stuff for five years, I didn’t need it.” I really admired her pluck…but I also thought, “What about bills/bank statements…things like that that might have gotten thrown out, too?” I do worry about bank stuff and bills….but was not sure about catalogues or catalogue accounts that might have your name on them, too.

Thanks for the responses….lurve coming to all!

Buttonstc's avatar

I use a thick tipped black Magic Marker to obliterate my name from stuff. As long as it’s a permanent one (some of them are black but water soluble). That does the job and it’s a whole lot quicker, particularly on cardboard packing boxes i’ve received. But I always buy the brand name for this task and that way I know the quality of the ink and that it’s permanent.

Some stores carry the Jumbo markers with a tip that’s about an inch or so across and that’s even quicker yet. Be sure she gets several as you don’t want to run out of ink halfway through. With these markers there’s no way to check the ink level as you can in a pen.

I really is so much easier and quicker this way.

Nullo's avatar

Heavy black marker, or if I’ve watched Mission: Impossible recently, I use fire.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I just rip off the address and throw that in the “burnable” pile for my wood burning stove to turn into heat. I do not bother with the stuff in the middle of catalogs. My town has weekly pick up for trash and recycling. I put the trash out on the morning of pick up day.

downtide's avatar

I mark out or shred my name and address on anything I throw out, although the customer numbers aren’t useful to anyone if there’s no name & address to associate them with. Even though it’s time consuming I think your friend is wise.

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Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It sounds like there are two challenges here. She wants to safely get rid of the catalogs in order to prepare for the move, and she probably wants to continue receiving them at her new location. If I were in her shoes, I’d hire a local and trusted teenager to complete the task.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Hi everyone! It took forever (it seemed) but we ripped, shredded, blacked-out and/or a combination of all three. We eventually got into a sort of “rhythm”…blackout-throw. It felt great when it all got done. Thank you for your suggestions! (Lurve coming to the rest of you!)

Buttonstc's avatar

Good for you.

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