Spark Joy by Tackling Paper Clutter the KonMari Way

Marie Kondo is an organizing expert and author of four books including, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up. In 2015 she was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people. She currently has her own reality show on Netflix, aptly entitled, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.

Marie Kondo’s method of tidying up is called the KonMari way. The ultimate goal is to keep only those items that “spark joy” in one’s life. Of course, in real life we need to keep a lot more items that don’t necessarily spark joy — old income tax returns spring to mind — nevertheless, there is a lot to be learned from the KonMari method, especially when it comes to tackling paper clutter. Here are some paper-management tips inspired by the KonMari way.

Gather Everything

The first step is to gather all the paper in your home or office. If you have everything in front of you, you won’t waste time moving from one room to the other trying to sift through and making double the effort. For an office environment, conduct this process in the same room as your filing cabinets, if you have them.


Next, make piles of paper according to categories that are relevant to you. One category would be papers that you need to keep for historical records (like those pesky old tax returns). Another category would be papers that require your immediate attention, like a utility bill. Another category might be papers that you need to hold onto for the short term, like store receipts you want to keep to match up to your credit card bill. Make any other categories that you might need, too. Finally, make another pile of papers that can be discarded or shredded.


The last step is to find a permanent spot for all those categories. Out of sight is better, such as inside those filing cabinets. Other ideas to store the daily paper that enters your home or office include those plastic storage units with letter-sized drawers, a decorative rectangular basket with a lid, or vertical file folder racks that sit on a desk.

Shred or Discard

Take the pile of papers ready for the shredder and get them ready to leave your home or office forever. Choose a shredding company such as Tristar, with an onsite location where you can get immediate satisfaction by dropping off your paper to have it shredded. Tristar also offers a mobile service, swinging by your home or office once or on a schedule to pick up documents for secure and confidential shredding. 

There’s a lot to be said for keeping papers managed and under control, but when you’re in business, it’s definitely hard to keep up with the “paper dragon.” Implement the KonMari way as much as possible, and partner with Tristar to keep your life paper clutter-free.

Earth Day & Recycling

This Earth Day it’s more important than ever to think about the dangerous effects of the waste in our landfills. There is a record level of trash being generated in the world. And did you know that over 36% of landfill material is paper? It’s a pity because most paper is completely recyclable.

The State of Our Landfills

The United States is the worst when it comes to waste. America is the leading nation for producing trash in the entire world. Each year, the average American produces about 1,609 pounds of trash. One landfill in the midwest has become a mountain of trash that towers 1045 feet above sea level. Luckily, there’s a lot that can be done about the problem of waste. Earth Day is the perfect time to review the best ways to recycle.

Recycling E-Waste

E-waste has become a huge issue since the age of personal electronics. Some states have taken steps to reduce e-waste with legislation. In fact, in some states, such as New Jersey and Illinois, it is illegal to toss old electronics in the trash. The reason for this is that many electronic devices, such as laptops, video game consoles and mobile phones, have hazardous materials inside of them, like leaded glass and mercury.

STS Electronics Recycling is one example of a company that recycles electronics for companies. They service areas in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. They offer full service for their customers, including GPS tracking, secure transportation for electronics that contain sensitive data, and secure, monitored recycling. In addition, all of the electronics that are handed over to STS Electronics Recycling are recorded and verified, as well as the actual disposal of those electronics.

Recycling Paper Waste

Paper waste recycling is available through Tristar Document Shredding and some other companies. Tristar offers services for residential community and commercial customers who need to get rid of paper waste. Tristar Document Shredding even offers a mobile shredding unit that arrives at the residence or place of business as well as walk-in, on-site shredding services. They can come once or repeatedly, as necessity dictates. All paper shredded with Tristar is dutifully recycled.

Consumer Power

Finally, the first important step in battling the overwhelming waste problem is utilize the power of consumer spending. Things like product packaging are a huge problem in terms of waste. When you shop, consider buying in bulk to eliminate waste. Bring your own shopping bags to the store to reduce the use of paper and plastic bags.

Every small change can make a big impact on the war against waste. By using companies that recycle paper and e-waste, and by choosing to buy products without packaging, everyone can help to improve this growing problem.

How Long Do I Need to Keep Tax Documents?

Tax filing season comes to an end in April of every year. Whether you look forward to it or dread it, one thing remains the same – there is an excess of paper documents to file afterward.

Even with electronic filing, you probably have years and years of forms, receipts and documents that you’re unsure what to do with. One of the most common questions surround tax documents is “How long do we have to keep them?”

The answer: it depends.

If you’re still hanging on to files from 1990’s, you’re certainly safe to shred. In fact, 3 years is the recommended length to keep tax documents in most cases. But there are other situations when you should keep them longer (such as if you filed a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction). You can review the list of IRS guidelines here, or contact a trusted CPA for specific questions about what and how long to keep files.

It can be scary to shred documents (what if I need these later)? However, it can be even scarier NOT to shred them. Paper files create a security risk. Personal information can get into the wrong hands. Papers could be lost or stolen. Your financial information may have changed in the last ten years, but your social security number hasn’t. You still need to protect your personal information.

The safest thing is to destroy documents you no longer need. And when it’s time to do that, make sure you partner with a professional. You can bring them into an on-site shredder, such as Tristar’s Walk-In Shredding, or arrange for a one-time service if you don’t already have a regularly scheduled service in place.

For more information about document shredding contact Tristar today.

4 Questions to Ask a Shredding Company

Whether you own a business or produce a lot of personal documents that you don’t feel comfortable throwing in the trash, contracting with a professional shredding company can be a good solution. You have the reassurance of knowing that the documents you no longer want have been destroyed and no one can get their hands on them. However, not all shredding companies offer the same services. Before you hire a professional shredder, be sure to ask the questions we outline below.

How Does Your Company Keep My Information Private?

People arrange for shredding because the documents contain highly sensitive information such as financial or health data that their clients expect them to keep private. We respect this at Tristar Document Shredding. We typically have you dump your items for shredding directly into one of our containers. You are welcome to watch the process to ensure that we shred everything appropriately and that nothing is identifiable from the tiny pieces that remain at the end of the process.

Do You Offer Mobile Service?

Yes, most of our business is performed on-site at the customer’s location. This enables you to supervise the process as described above. It is also much more convenient since you don’t have to arrange to haul your items for shredding to our location in Conroe, Texas. We don’t require you to remove staples, rubber bands or anything else attached to your documents since we can shred it all.

Tristar Document Shredding provides a Certificate of Destruction once we have completed each job. If you prefer to deliver your documents to us, we offer walk-in shredding services, or we can arrange to pick up your documents.

What Can I Shred Besides Paper Documents?

We understand that businesses typically have a wide range of waste items that should not go into a trash or recycle bin. For this reason, we accept many more types of items than just paper documents. These include:

·       Counterfeit products

·       Data security

·       Defective products

·       Electronics recycling

·       Hard drives

·       License plates

·       Magnetic tapes

·       Optical Discs

·       Uniforms

·       X-rays

When it comes to the destruction of data and hard drives, simply writing over a disk is rarely enough. Destruction through magnetic or punching methods may not be adequate either. The only way to ensure true destruction of these items and meet regulations at the industry, state and federal levels is to work with a professional shredding organization such as Tristar. This also allows you to show official proof of destruction if anyone ever asks you for it.

What Types of Shredding Services Do You Offer?

A good shredding company will recognize that all customers have different needs. Some produce so many documents and other confidential items that they need to have ongoing regularly scheduled appointments to keep up with it. Others only need a one-time shredding service or an annual purge. The bottom line is that you know what your family or business requires, and you need a shredding company with plenty of options. You will find these options and more as a client of Tristar Document Shredding.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 936-788-4733 with additional questions, or visit our website for more information.

Importance of Teaching Kids Today About Recycling E-Waste

Educators and parents have a serious responsibility to teach kids about the importance of recycling e-waste. E-waste is growing at an alarming rate. The World Economic Forum reports that e-waste has surpassed paper as the number-one growing global waste stream in history. Current waste stream estimates are already just over 48 million tons. E-waste not only presents a problem with volume, though. There are other critical reasons why teaching kids today about recycling e-waste must be a priority.

Toxic Materials in E-Waste

Electronic devices often contain toxic materials such as lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium and other substances. Without proper disposal or recycling, these toxic materials end up in the ground, where they contaminate drinking water and soil. Eventually, they may contaminate the food supply, causing illness and death. 

Source of Raw Materials

Recycling e-waste whenever possible is just as important as proper disposal of e-waste. The precious metals inside of electronic materials take many man-hours of labor and other costs to excavate and process for use. So far, estimates are that less than 20 percent of the precious metals in electronic components is recovered due to recycling. The rest is simply tossed in the landfills.

Waste Management

Of course, landfill waste management is a central part of the reason why educators and parents should be teaching kids about the importance of recycling e-waste. Landfills are a finite resource that are already being pushed to the limits. Every device that can be recycled and kept out of a landfill is a boon for the ecology.

How Can Electronics be Recycled?

Consumers have a variety of ways to recycle their old devices. They include:


Rather than throw away a device, encourage kids to give them away or donate them. Charity stores like Goodwill happily accept electronic devices for resale.

Sell Online

Not everyone can afford brand-new devices. Kids can make a little extra money by selling unwanted devices on sites like eBay.

Take-Back Programs

Many electronic retailers like Best Buy, Staples and Office Depot participate in take-back programs where they’ll take back old devices and make sure they are recycled or disposed of properly.

Online Recyclers

There are a variety of online recyclers like Call2Recycle that will take old batteries and other electronic devices. In some cases, they’ll even provide a mailer with prepaid postage.

Government Legislation

Governments around the world are making moves to enforce recycling of electronics. So far, 26 states in the U.S. have mandated recycling of electronics. However, it’s consumers who have to make the final effort to recycle electronics or dispose of them properly in their homes and places of business.

It’s up to the kids of today to take care of the world tomorrow. It’s never too early to teach kids about the importance of recycling or properly disposing of e-waste. If a child is old enough to use a device, then that child is old enough to learn about recycling e-waste.

For more information on recycling and other related topics visit our blog.

New Year, New Organization Goals

organized desk

A new year has just begun, yet you may already feel like you’re buried by paperwork from years gone by. That can be frustrating, but changing your mindset to one that is determined to organize your papers makes all the difference. Once you’ve done that, it might surprise you at just how fast you can tame your paper clutter.

Start by Deciding What to Keep and What to Shred

When you find a new paper pile, take a few minutes to look at each page to determine if it’s something that you should keep and file in a secure location or shred. For example, imagine that you come across tax forms from 2017 and 2007. You would want to keep the newer forms, but there’s no reason to hold onto something 12 years old. You would set the newer tax papers in a pile to keep and put the older one in a pile of things to shred.

Come Up with a System to Organize Papers You Want to Keep

Once you’re certain you have uncovered all of the papers in your home or office that you want to organize, it’s time to decide on a system for doing so. Some people prefer to work with colored folders and have each color represent a different type of paperwork inside of the folder. It is equally effective to buy a package of manila folders and label each one with the type of paperwork it contains. If you don’t have a file cabinet to place the folders in, you can buy a portable one or one that serves as a piece of furniture.

Documents to Consider Placing in a Safe

Some documents are much more important than others and challenging to replace if lost or stolen. Purchasing a small safe and placing these documents inside of it can provide you with valuable peace of mind:

·       Title to your car

·       Marriage license

·       Bank account statements that contain account numbers

·       Divorce paperwork

·       Loan paperwork

·       Insurance documents

·       Social security card

·       Mortgage documentation

·       Tax returns from 2013 to 2018

·       Wills

·       Warranties on major appliances

·       Service contracts from retailers

·       College transcripts

·       Passports

·       Medical records

Shred Your Unwanted Documents Safely

You may not think much of the unwanted credit card offers you receive by mail, old receipts or paperwork that could potentially identify you, and you end up throwing these documents in the garbage or recycle bin. The problem with this is that your unwanted papers could end up in the wrong hands and you could quickly find yourself the victim of identity theft. Throwing a bank statement in the garbage one day could result in someone attempting to drain your account the next day. The risk simply is not worth it.

Shredding your documents with Tristar Document Shredding establishes an important chain of custody if you ever need to account for why you chose to eliminate documents this way. Whether you’re overrun by papers at home or work, we’re here to help you become safer and more organized in the new year. You can bring your papers to us, or our onsite shredding trucks can come to you.

For more information visit our website, or contact us for a free quote.

Recycled Art Projects for Kids

Shredded paper has always made a great medium for recycled art projects for kids. As adults, we already know the benefits of using our non-confidential shredded household and office paper as a great packing material or litter box addition. But children of all ages can also put that shredded paper to good use with fun art projects.

Papier Mâché Art

From Christmas ornaments to animal sculptures to masks, papier mâché is the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon creating artwork. The papier mâché mixture is easily made with shredded newspaper coated with a white glue and water mixture or a solution of equal parts flour and water (or up to 2 parts water). The resulting beautiful 3D art sculptures last for years and, with a quick internet search, you’ll find many interesting projects — from the simple to the profound!

The Ultimate Paper Mache websites offers downloadable patterns for animal sculptures and masks here.

Woven Paper Art

Shredded paper is used as the the medium for weaving abstract artwork. This makes a perfect craft for kids to explore color-combining in interesting ways. Woven paper art can even be used as art lessons for the youngest of art students. presents art projects for primary school children using only strips of paper, glue, pipe cleaners and features.

For older children, you’ll also find many great paper-weaving art projects online that use shredded paper, such as optical illusion art, pop art and artistic portraits.

Wall Art Collage

Paper mosaic wall art is easy and flexible enough for all ages to create wonderful artwork to hang on the wall. The process involving filling the outline of the subject, maybe a large dog or the outline of a landscape with cross-cut shredded paper. The young artist learns to use paper as primary and secondary color to create one-of-a-kind artwork. Shredded paper collages have even been created to artistically created likenesses of well-known people.

View many excellent examples of using shredded or torn paper to create self-portraits or abstract paper mosaics as shown from the easy to the highly detailed.

Paper Bowls as Art

Using the papier mâché art medium to make colorful bowls is not only an great art project, but children are left with something they can use, treasure or give as a gift. Usually vivid construction paper is used to create a more substantial and colorful base mixture before molding into a larger plastic-covered bowl. Add a couple tablespoons of salt to the mixture to prevent the bowls from molding if the climate is prone to humidity.

Making paper bowls with shredded paper and glue is a project best conducted outside or with the floor covered with newspapers. Part of the fun is getting a little sloppy while allowing creative juices to flow into a recycled art project.

Tristar Document Shredding offers economical and convenient paper-shredding services to communities surrounding Conroe, TX. We offer scheduled services, walk-in shredding, or we can provide annual purges of all your disposal documents.


How to Find a Reliable Document Shredding Service

Many people have concerns about handing over their confidential documents containing private information to a stranger, even if that stranger is a shredding company. The whole reason people have documents shredded is to keep the information they contain from falling into someone else’s hands, so it makes sense to have anxiety about handing them over to a stranger. Don’t let that fear stop you from hiring a shredding service, because shredding is important in both business and personal life in order to keep your private information falling into the wrong hands.

How can you be sure that the professional shredding service you’re considering is a 100% reliable and good service? Here are some tips to help you find a document and hard-drive-destruction company that you can trust:

Research – Do your research, people! Make sure the company you choose is a respectable, trustworthy company. Check any ratings and reviews, and always go with a company that gives you a Certificate of Destruction confirming your materials have been destroyed.

NAID Membership – Another good thing to look for is whether or not they have a membership with the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID). NAID membership shows that the company and its employees are professionals who are up-to-date with the current industry standards and regulations.

Recycle – Once you have chosen a shredding company, be sure to ask if they recycle! With the amount of paper that is being shredded by any given shredding company, it’s a no-brainer that they should recycle it and help protect the environment. Make sure they dispose of shredded hard drives and e-waste responsibly as well – these things should also be recycled as they contain toxic components that are harmful to people, animals and the environment.

Convenience – Last but not least, you want to choose a shredding service that is efficient but also convenient for you. Do they offer the services that you need, and are they capable of handling the amount of shredding you have? Do they come to you, or do you go to them? Do they offer regular scheduled services or just one-time services? Make sure that they can meet your needs with minimal effort from you.

Finding a reliable and trustworthy shredding service make take a little digging, but it will be well worth the time spent. If you have questions about document shredding or need additional information about business services or pricing, contact Tristar Document Shredding today.

What Happens After Your Documents Get Shredded?

paper shredding recycleProfessional shredders have become the go-to guys for firms looking to dispose of old documents without giving out useful information. Your security is guaranteed, and you also get rid of paper that is no longer of use. Offsite, mobile and drop-off shredders make the process easy for you, no matter your situation.

Why shred?
While shredding helps you dispose of unused paper, it’s also good for the environment as the shredded paper is recycled. Professional shredders partner with recycling companies to transport the shredded paper to a recycling facility. The recycler can then bale the paper and make the bales ready for shipping. They can later be transported to a suitable paper mill which will manufacture useful products for the market.

What becomes of the shredded paper?
Once we finish shredding your paper, we remain with tiny bits of paper, most of which take the shape of confetti. These pieces can be put to good use once they make their way to a reputable recycling facility. At the facility, the shredded paper is chemically washed and exposed to heat in a vat of chemically treated water; this process breaks down the paper.

Impurities are then removed using a screen that the paper is pressed against. Any remaining ink will then be washed out, and the paper will be ready to make new products after being bonded and dried. Rollers are used to complete the final step. It only takes a couple of hours to convert your shredded paper into something useful.

Toilet paper, paper towels and writing paper are some of the new paper products that can be manufactured from the remains. Once we are done, we ensure that the shredded paper does not join other wastes in a landfill. This helps you lower your office’s carbon footprint.

The benefits of a professional shredder
Recycling facilities hardly ever accept personal paper shreds mostly due to their small sizes. Professional shredders are preferred as they supply the paper shreds in bales, making them easier to handle. A single bale is made when about 2,000 pounds of paper is compressed. We will give you a certificate of destruction whenever you make use of our shredding services, proving that you comply with the paper disposal policies put in place.

The downside of office shredders
Some firms have opted for office shredders, but these are not as effective as professional shredders, especially on the environment front. Part of the office shredded paper ends up in the trash and, in turn, jeopardizes the environment as well as the firm’s confidentiality.

In a nutshell, it’s practically impossible to run a tidy office without disposing of reams of paper from time to time. Invest in a professional shredder to get this done. Contact Tristar Document Shredding for an environmentally friendly document-shredding solution.

Do Your Part to Recycle: Don’t Contribute to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

In an article for Natural History magazine, Captain Charles Moore tells how he discovered what has come to be called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. According to Moore, his crew was on their way back to their home port in Long Beach, California when they decided to take a shortcut through an expanse of ocean few sailors traverse. The waters in that area lack the nutrients needed to support sea life, making it a frustrating area for fisherman.

Moore talks about gazing from the deck of his ship, expecting to see a pristine ocean and the shock he felt upon the sight of plastic as far as the eye could see. He says that in the week it took to cross the area, the crew could see debris floating everywhere, no matter what time of day they looked (read article here).

Our Role

It’s easy for us to toss our trash into a bin and never think of it again, to shrug off where it’s ultimately going to wind up. It feels so satisfying to organize our files, clean unneeded paperwork off our desks, and replace tired computers and other electronics with newer, flashier versions that we can forget our responsibility to this planet.

If we leave recycling to “someone else,” we are part of a trend that leads to more landfills, increased greenhouse gases, loss of fossil fuels, and the reduction of natural resources. Fortunately, we only need to do our part, to be mindful of our role in recycling.

Mother Nature has it Down

One would think we’d take our cue from Mother Nature when it comes to recycling. After all, the Earth recycles and reuses everything. For example, dead animals and plants break down to become soil and provide nutrients to newly sprouting plants. For our planet, it’s all about reusing what appears to be useless.

For us, that means taking a moment to think about how our waste can be used in a new and better way, rather than rotting away in a landfill or filling the ocean with flotsam.

Finding New Life

Did you know that it only takes 60 days for a recycled aluminum can to be melted down, turned into a new can, filled, and placed back in a retail store? Aluminum is also used to make bicycles, building facades, and airplane parts. Glass is recycled to make containers, countertops, and even highway markers. As far as old computers and office equipment, once the glass, metal and plastic have been efficiently separated, they become part of entirely new items, given new life and kept out of a landfill.

Contact us at 936-228-5500 or visit our website here if you would like more information about how you can help the Earth through recycling e-waste and paper via mobile shredding services.